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Open Access Research article

How does the medical graduates' self-assessment of their clinical competency differ from experts' assessment?

Fatima Taleb Abadel* and Abdulla Saeed Hattab

Author affiliations

Community Medicine and Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Aden, Aden, Yemen

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:24  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-24

Published: 13 February 2013

Abstract

Background

The assessment of the performance of medical school graduates during their first postgraduate years provides an early indicator of the quality of the undergraduate curriculum and educational process. The objective of this study was to assess the clinical competency of medical graduates, as perceived by the graduates themselves and by the experts.

Methods

This is a hospital based cross-sectional study. It covered 105 medical graduates and 63 experts selected by convenient sampling method. A self-administered questionnaire covering the different areas of clinical competency constructed on a five-point Likert scale was used for data collection. Data processing and analysis were performed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) 16.0. The mean, frequency distribution, and percentage of the variables were calculated. A non-parametric Kruskal Wallis test was applied to verify whether the graduates' and experts' assessments were influenced by the graduates' variables such as age, gender, experience, type of hospital, specialty and location of work at a (p ≤ 0.05) level of significance.

Results

The overall mean scores for experts' and graduates' assessments were 3.40 and 3.63, respectively (p= 0.035). Almost 87% of the graduates perceived their competency as good and very good in comparison with only 67.7% by experts. Female and male graduates who rated themselves as very good were 33.8% and 25% respectively. More than 19% of the graduates in the age group > 30 years perceived their clinical competency as inadequate in contrast with only 6.2% of the graduates in the youngest age group. Experts rated 40% of the female graduates as inadequate versus 20% of males, (p= 0.04). More than 40% of the graduates in younger age group were rated by experts as inadequate, versus 9.7% of the higher age group >30 years (p = 0.03).

Conclusion

There was a wide discrepancy between the graduates' self-assessment and experts' assessment, particularly in the level of inadequate performance. Graduates in general, and those of younger age groups in particular, tend to overestimate their clinical skills and competency.