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Dec 31 2009

The ‘Six Core Competencies:’ Keeping skills sharp to avoid problems

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This issue of the Forum continues a special feature highlighting the ACGME's six core competencies. The Accreditation Council for Medical Education endorsed the competencies in 1999 to define the skills and qualities it expects all medical residents to demonstrate proficiency in. Since then, the competencies have gained acceptance among healthcare organizations as a means of evaluating clinician performance and knowledge.

The NCMB uses the six core competencies as a framework for discussing disciplinary cases. The Board hopes that making licensees more familiar with the competencies will help encourage compliance and possibly even prevent misconduct and/or substandard care.

In this issue: Practice-based Learning and Improvement and Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Read the detailed definitions for information on what behaviors and skills demonstrate proficiency within a particular competency. To read about the competencies covered in the previous issue of the Forum, visit Go to "Professional Resources" and select "Forum Newsletter" from the menu options. The first two competencies appeared in the Fall 2009 issue.

Practice-based Learning and Improvement: "How you get better"
Residents must be able to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and improve their patient care practices. Residents are expected to:
  • Analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology.

  • Locate, appraise and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients' health problems.

  • Obtain and use information about their own population of patients and the larger population from which their patients are drawn.

  • Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness.

  • Use information technology to manage information, access on-line medical information and support their own education.

  • Facilitate the learning of students and other health care professionals.

Interpersonal and Communications Skills: "How you interact with others"
Residents must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their patient' families and professional associates. Residents are expected to:
  • Create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients.

  • Use effective listening skills and elicit and provide information using effective nonverbal, explanatory, questioning and writing skills.

  • Work effectively with others as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group.

What are the Six Core Competencies?
A complete list of the six competencies appears below.
  • Patient Care

  • Medical Knowledge

  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement

  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • Professionalism

  • System-based Practice

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