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Keywords:

  • education;
  • certification;
  • examination;
  • conference

Abstract

Objectives:  The residency review committee for emergency medicine (EM) requires residents to have greater than 70% attendance of educational conferences during residency training, but it is unknown whether attendance improves clinical competence or scores on the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) in-training examination (ITE). This study examined the relationship between conference attendance and ITE scores. The hypothesis was that greater attendance would correlate to a higher examination score.

Methods:  This was a multi-center retrospective cohort study using conference attendance data and examination results from residents in four large county EM residency training programs. Longitudinal multi-level models, adjusting for training site, U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 score, and sex were used to explore the relationship between conference attendance and in-training examination scores according to year of training. Each year of training was studied, as well as the overall effect of mean attendance as it related to examination score.

Results:  Four training sites reported data on 405 residents during 2002 to 2008; 386 residents had sufficient data to analyze. In the multi-level longitudinal models, attendance at conference was not a significant predictor of in-training percentile score (coefficient = 0.005, 95% confidence interval [CI] = –0.053 to 0.063, p = 0.87). Score on the USMLE Step 1 examination was a strong predictor of ITE score (coefficient = 0.186, 95% CI = 0.155 to 0.217; p < 0.001), as was female sex (coefficient = 2.117, 95% CI = 0.987 to 3.25; p < 0.001).

Conclusions:  Greater conference attendance does not correlate with performance on an individual’s ITE scores. Conference attendance may represent an important part of EM residency training but perhaps not of ITE performance.