The clinical skills assessment for international medical graduates in The Netherlands

Med Teach. 2009 Nov;31(11):e533-8. doi: 10.3109/01421590903067220.


Aim: A need was felt to improve the quality of admission and licensing procedures for international medical graduates in The Netherlands.

Method: A clinical skills assessment was designed as part of a new procedure to realize a high-stakes, fair, transparent, and a time-limited path of admission for international medical graduates to the Dutch health care system. Additionally, it should provide a well-founded advice about length and content of additional medical training, should this be indicated by the outcome of the assessment.

Results: The clinical skills assessment procedure was developed as a Dutch variant of the "Step 2 Clinical Skills examination" of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) in collaboration with the United States National Board of Medical Examiners, which has a well-documented validity and reliability. The experience with the new procedure is yet limited, but enough to warrant a report.

Discussion: Worldwide, a number of countries have developed such high-stake assessment procedures, but they show little uniformity and transparency. By describing the design and development of our procedure, we do not pretend to set a standard, but we hope to contribute to more fair, accurate and uniform approaches for doctors moving from one country to another.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Foreign Medical Graduates*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • School Admission Criteria