When Is an Orthopedic Intern Ready to Take Call?

Jacqueline M. Brady, Derek Smith, Trevor Barronian, David Jenkins, Joseph T. Nguyen, Andrea Herzka, Darin Friess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: While orthopedic residency training varies among programs, an inevitable phenomenon is a transition for interns from consistent oversight to independent call with indirect supervision. It is therefore crucial to reliably assess trainees’ ability to perform basic procedures. The objective of the study was to evaluate the utility of a novel Orthopaedic Intern Skills Assessment (OISA) to assess skill level. Design: In a cohort study, participants were evaluated on their ability to complete eleven skills in a simulated environment. Using a standardized patient and/or cadaveric specimen, we assessed skeletal traction, joint aspiration, joint injection, laceration repair, ankle brachial index measurement, compartment pressure monitoring, upper and lower extremity splinting, informed consent, spine trauma exam, and cervical spine clearance abilities. Setting: The assessment took place in a medical simulation lab at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. Participants: Third- or fourth-year medical students interested in orthopedics, incoming interns (preinterns), and residents within 1 month of completing their intern year (postinterns) were invited to participate in the study. All interested individuals were included. Of the 20 individuals contacted, 14 (70%) consented: 4 medical students (40%), 5 preinterns (100%), and 5 postinterns (100%). All consenting individuals finished their participation in the research. Results: Postintern skill completion rate was significantly higher than preinterns (p = 0.006) and medical students (p < 0.001). Completion rates for preinterns were also significantly higher rate than medical students (p = 0.035). Conclusions: Our OISA found that postinterns had reached a basic orthopedic skill level expected of a junior resident without in-house supervision. Our OISA also highlighted areas of training that needed further attention, which will help orthopedic training programs verify an appropriate level of skill as trainees' progress from a supervised intern year to taking indirectly supervised junior resident call, and help identify areas where increased training is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-709
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • intern
  • orthopedics
  • preparedness
  • residency education
  • simulation
  • skills assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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