Procedure competence versus number performed: a survey of graduate emergency medicine specialists in a developing nation

Emerg Med J. 2012 Oct;29(10):822-5. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2011-200584. Epub 2011 Oct 21.


Background: Emergency medicine (EM) training programmes are being conducted around the world but no study has assessed the procedural competence of developing nations' EM trainees.

Objectives: To quantify the number of core procedures and resuscitations performed and describe the perceived procedural competency of graduates of Africa's first EM registrarship at the University of Cape Town/Stellenbosch University (UCT/SUN) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Methods: All 30 graduates from the first four classes in the UCT/SUN EM programme (2007-10) were asked to complete a written, self-administered survey on the number of procedures needed for competency, the number of procedures performed during registrarship and the perceived competence in each procedure ranked on a five-point Likert scale. The procedures selected were the 10 core procedures and four types of resuscitations as defined by the US-based Residency Review Committee. Results were compiled and analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Twenty-seven (90%) completed surveys. For most core procedures and all resuscitations, the number of procedures reported by respondents far exceeded the Residency Review Committee minimum. The three procedures not meeting the minimum were internal cardiac pacing, cricothyrotomy and periocardiocentesis. Respondents reported perceived competence in most procedures and all resuscitations.

Conclusions: EM trainees in a South Africa registrarship report a high number of procedures performed for most procedures and all resuscitations. As medical education moves to the era of direct observation and other methods of assessment, more studies are needed to define and ensure procedural competence in trainees of nascent EM programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • South Africa
  • Surveys and Questionnaires