Study Objective: To obtain the opinions of internal medicine residency program directors about which procedural skills residents master during training and the amount of training needed to attain and maintain competence in each procedure.
Design: A mailed survey to all program directors in the United States.
Respondents: Program directors or their designees from 389 of 431 (90%) internal medicine residency programs.
Results: For several procedures, 40% more respondents said all residents should master the procedure than said all their residents do master the procedure. Some procedures commonly done in practice were perceived as mastered by all residents in fewer than half of the programs. There were few differences in procedures learned by size or type of program. A fellowship program did affect exposure to some procedures in the field covered by the program. Median recommendations of training needed to master each procedure were similar to those of practicing internists for most procedures.
Conclusions: Current residency training does not assure competency in all of the procedures the general internist does in practice. Program directors should examine which skills are adequately taught, test competence, and ways to improve residents' skills. Practicing general internists should have access to supervised training in procedural skills.