Articles   |    
The Adequacy of Medical School Education in Musculoskeletal Medicine*†
View Disclosures and Other Information
Investigation performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1998 Oct 01;80(10):1421-7
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case


A basic familiarity with musculoskeletal disorders is essential for all medical school graduates. The purpose of the current study was to test a group of recent medical school graduates on basic topics in musculoskeletal medicine in order to assess the adequacy of their preparation in this area.A basic-competency examination in musculoskeletal medicine was developed and validated. The examination was sent to all 157 chairpersons of orthopaedic residency programs in the United States, who were asked to rate each question for importance and to suggest a passing score. To assess the criterion validity, the examination was administered to eight chief residents in orthopaedic surgery. The study population comprised all eighty-five residents who were in their first postgraduate year at our institution; the examination was administered on their first day of residency.One hundred and twenty-four (81 per cent) of the 154 orthopaedic residency-program chairpersons who received the survey responded to it. The chairpersons rated twenty-four of the twenty-five questions as at least important. The mean passing score (and standard deviation) that they recommended for the assessment of basic competency was 73.1 ± 6.8 per cent. The mean score for the eight orthopaedic chief residents was 98.5 ± 1.07 per cent, and that for the eighty-five residents in their first postgraduate year was 59.6 ± 12 per cent. Seventy (82 per cent) of the eighty-five residents failed to demonstrate basic competency on the examination according to the chairpersons' criterion. The residents who had taken an elective course in orthopaedic surgery in medical school scored higher on the examination (mean score, 68.4 per cent) than did those who had taken only a required course in orthopaedic surgery (mean score, 57.9 per cent) and those who had taken no rotation in orthopaedic surgery (mean score, 55.9 per cent) (p = 0.005 and p = 0.001, respectively).In summary, seventy (82 per cent) of eighty-five medical school graduates failed a valid musculoskeletal competency examination. We therefore believe that medical school preparation in musculoskeletal medicine is inadequate.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    Connecticut - Orthopaedic Foundation
    CA - Mercy Medical Group
    MA - The University of Massachusetts Medical School