Gaps in the Clinical Competency of Medical School Graduates: A Cross-Sectional Study Based on the Objective Structured Clinical Examination

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Medical education, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Student Research Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran

4 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background: Clinical education is the heart of medical education. It is one of the most important manifestations of teaching and learning in professions relating to medical sciences, leading to learners' clinical competency. This study was done to investigate general physician graduates' knowledge, performance, and clinical competency before entering the field of clinical activities.
Methods: In this descriptive cross-sectional study, the scores of different stations of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), held at the end of the general medicine course in Iran, were collected at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Totally, 266 students who participated in six periodicities of clinical competency examinations were included in the study by the census method. The clinical competency of general physician graduates assessed in the scopes were determined by the General Medical Education Council, including problem-solving, communication skills, practical action, taking the history, and performing physical examinations by the OSCE. The data were analyzed by SPSS software using descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results: The effect of different scopes of the OSCE (F(3,5652) = 7.022 and P = 0.001) and participants' performance based on their critical and non-critical indicators (T = 1.976 and P = 0.04) are significant with 95% confidence interval. This suggests that participants' performance varies in different scopes of the clinical examination, including problem-solving, communication skills, practical action, taking the history, and performing physical examinations.
Conclusions: The differences in the clinical competencies of general physician graduates in mentioned scopes were significant. This emphasizes the need to examine their essential skills to achieve the minimum competencies expected of a future physician before entering the field of clinical activity.


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