Studies have elucidated the lack of competency in musculoskeletal (MSK) examination skills amongst trainees. Various modalities have been studied, however, there remains a dearth of literature regarding the effectiveness of bedside teaching versus dedicated workshops. Our aim was to determine if incorporating a workshop into a rheumatology rotation would be effective in increasing medicine residents’ competency and comfort with knee examinations when compared to the rotation alone.
Over 16 months, rotators were randomized to workshop plus rotation versus rotation alone. Participants were tested on their knee examination skills using an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Surveys were administered assessing to what degree the rotation was beneficial. Comfort and helpfulness were measured using a 5-point Likert scale. Paired and independent samples t-tests were used for comparisons.
Fifty-seven residents participated. For both groups, there were improvements between pre and post OSCE scores (workshop p < 0.001, no workshop p = 0.003), and levels of comfort with examination (workshop p < 0.001, no workshop p < 0.001). When comparing groups, there were differences favoring the workshop in post OSCE score (p = < 0.001), mean change in OSCE score (p < 0.001) and mean change in comfort with knee examination (p = 0.025).
An elective in rheumatology augmented residents’ MSK competency and comfort. Incorporation of a workshop further increased knowledge, skills and comfort with diagnosis and treatment. Current educational research focuses on alternatives to traditional methods. This study provides evidence that a multi-modal approach, combining traditional bedside and interactive models, is of benefit.