Introduction: Professionalism is a vital component of quality patient care. While competency in professionalism is Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-mandated, the methods used to evaluate professionalism are not standardized, calling into question the validity of reported measurements. We aimed to determine the type and frequency of methods used by United States (US) -based emergency medicine (EM) residencies to assess accountability (Acc) and professional values (PV), as well as how often graduating residents achieve competency in these areas.
Methods: We created a cross-sectional survey exploring assessment and perceived competency in Acc and PV, and then modified the survey for content and clarity through feedback from emergency physicians not involved in the study. The final survey was sent to the clinical competency committee (CCC) chair or program director (PD) of the 185 US-based ACGME-accredited EM residencies. We summarized results using descriptive statistics and Fisher's exact testing.
Results: A total of 121 programs (65.4%) completed the survey. The most frequently used methods of assessment were faculty shift evaluation (89.7%), CCC opinion (86.8%), and faculty summative evaluation (76.4%). Overall, 37% and 42% of residency programs stated that nearly all (greater than 95%) of their graduating residents achieve mastery of Acc and PV non-technical skills, respectively. Only 11.2% of respondents felt their programs were very effective at determining mastery of non-technical skills.
Conclusion: EM residency programs relied heavily on faculty shift evaluations and summative opinions to determine resident competency in professionalism, with feedback from peers, administrators, and other staff less frequently incorporated. Few residency programs felt their current methods of evaluating professionalism were very effective.