Are medical students trained in cross-cover?

Clin Teach. 2019 Jun;16(3):214-219. doi: 10.1111/tct.12803. Epub 2018 Jun 26.


Objectives: To examine the current state of cross-cover education in undergraduate medical education and intern perceived readiness to provide cross-cover.

Methods: An electronic survey was distributed to 126 incoming interns in surgery, internal medicine, family medicine and paediatrics residencies at a single academic centre. Information regarding prior cross-cover training, experience, confidence, and responses to a sample cross-cover case were obtained.

Results: The survey response rate was 69.8% (88 of 126), which included both partial and complete responses. Fifty-seven interns out of 85 (67.1%) had no formal training and 51 (60.0%) had no experience performing cross-cover. They reported feeling unprepared to provide cross-cover, with an average score of 1.8 on a 5-point Likert scale (1, not at all confident; 5, extremely confident). Interns had more confidence in performing cross-cover tasks if they had prior direct cross-cover experience (p = 0.001), and were the least confident in performing the initial evaluation and management of urgent issues (Likert score = 1.6). Scores on the sample case were correlated with the amount of prior experience with patients (p = 0.06). Only 77.7% of interns indicated that they would notify their senior resident in two urgent scenarios. Those who reported higher confidence in knowing when to ask for help were more likely to appropriately notify their senior colleague (p = 0.005). We identified gaps in cross-cover training and in the preparedness of incoming interns CONCLUSIONS: We identified gaps in cross-cover training and in the preparedness of incoming interns. This has important implications for the first day of residency, when interns are often asked to perform cross-coverage, yet feel unprepared to do so and express the greatest concern in urgent cross-cover scenarios. Addressing this curricular gap is crucial in assuring safe cross-cover care.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration*