Objective: To determine factors related to residents' self-reported skill level for the skin cancer examination (SCE).
Design: Survey of residents in November 2003.
Setting: Four US residency programs.
Participants: Medical residents in family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine and specialists.
Main outcome measure: Proportion of residents reporting their current skill level for the performance of the SCE.
Results: Of 454 surveys distributed, 342 residents completed the survey (75.3% response rate). Clinical training for the SCE during residency was infrequent. During residency, 75.8% were never trained in the SCE, 55.3% never observed an SCE, and 57.4% never practiced the examination. Only 15.9% of residents reported being skilled in the SCE. However, the conduct of 4 SCEs (or slightly more than 1 per each year of residency) was associated with manifold increases in self-reported skill levels.
Conclusions: Information now collected from 7 medical schools and 4 residency programs underscores the need for more supervised opportunities to enable physicians in training to perform an SCE during routine patient examinations.