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ISSUE 10 June 2014 

Faculty Matters is a bimonthly publication for the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty. 


Register at:

Procedural Skills

June 24, 2014    

2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Matthew Rustici, MD



Introduction to Simulation Debriefing  
June 27, 2014
9:00 a.m. to Noon
Margaret Sande, MD
WELLS Center

Conflict Management for Supervisors

Sept. 9, 2014                        7:00 am to 10:00 am       

Lisa Neale


Improving Diabetes Management through Patient-Centered Care & Better Communication

Sept. 18, 2014
Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Multiple Presenters
Library Reading Room 3rd Floor 


Tips on Evaluating Student Competencies

Joel Yager, M.D.
There are positive and negative aspects associated with the lists of general competencies and specialty-specific milestones set forth by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

On the plus side, these well intended, high-minded and honorable lists of competencies ratify and draw attention to important areas of professional performance. As educators, we should be accountable to the public for assuring that trainees bearing our imprimaturs have achieved necessary levels of competence prior to independent practice.

On the minus side, a “competency-industrial complex” requiring formal assessment has emerged, generating large numbers of bureaucratic documentation requirements, chock-full of unintended consequences and unfunded mandates with regard to effort, time and staff resources.

The trick for educators and program staff is to (competently) conduct the necessary appraisals and fulfill documentation requirements without killing the spirit of educating trainees in the process. Competency assessment should not turn into mind-numbing, cynical exercises devoted to filling out valueless forms. Nor should formal evaluation stand in the way of (or stand in for) actually guiding progressive competence-building in trainees.

The following tips are provided with two goals in mind: 1) Helping trainees grow their competence AND 2) Satisfactorily documenting their progress. 

Learn more.



Graduation Level Competencies for the School of Medicine

Task Force to Continue Work in Implementing Competencies across the Curriculum

Medical education provides students, residents and fellows with the opportunity to learn and practice in a supervised work environment so that they can acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors necessary to treat patients independently within the scope of their medical discipline. In a competency-based system of training, outcomes are derived from the abilities and standards required of physicians for safe and effective practice. Educators, informed and guided by the needs of patients and learners, provide the framework, curriculum, instruction, and supervision for this training[1]. Educators are also responsible for assessing whether trainees are progressing appropriately toward independence, and ultimately determining whether they are prepared for unsupervised practice[2].

Learn more. 

Medical Students Suggest “6 Best Practices” of Preceptorship at the Golden Stethoscope Banquet

Kristin Furfari, MD

Medical students from the Foundations of Doctoring curriculum recognized and thanked their program’s volunteer and full-time clinical preceptors at the Golden Stethoscope banquet on May 5.

Students in all phases of the three-year Foundations of Doctoring curriculum were asked to write letters in support of their preceptors and nominate them for various awards. The following themes emerged as student’s reported what they learned and valued as well as what makes for a successful clinical preceptorship experience.

  1. Investment in relationships, both with patients and with students. “My preceptor is aware of my particular interests, strengths and weaknesses.”
  2. The value of listening. “It is far more efficient and more effective at building trust between the patient and physician to remove the assumptions, to be quiet, and truly discover the patient, the person, and their understanding of their disease.”
  3. Creating a safe teaching environment. “My preceptor challenges me to move beyond my comfort level in order to improve my clinical and communication skills, while maintaining a safe and respectful environment for the patient. His feedback is always constructive and directed – even when I, for example, completely bomb the neuro exam I am attempting. Instead of simply dictating how to do something, he always explains why.”
  4. The importance of goal development. “We talk about my goals frequently. Every day he encourages and validates my selections. As a student, the list of things I’d like to be better at is endless, but equally valid are the skills that are less concrete.”
  5. The value of the human touch. “After a heartfelt talk about a patient’s [challenging] situation and options, my preceptor’s next move surprised me. ‘Your heart must feel broken right now – do you mind if I listen to it?’ With one hand on her stethoscope, the other rested reassuringly on the patient’s shoulder, a seamless integration of compassion and doctoring.”
  6. Demonstrating humanism. “Every time we spoke and every shift I was with her, my preceptor asked about the most crucial parts of medical school – how I was coping, what I was eating, how much exercise I was getting, and what medicine still meant to me. It seemed completely natural because she did the exact same thing with her coworkers and her patients.”

Reminder: Faculty Should Review Payment Data Reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Physicians on our faculty should take time to review information reported by pharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers to the federal government about payments for research, consulting, gifts, travel or speaking honoraria, and entertainment. The Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, requires the manufacturers to report such payments. As of June 1, physicians can register on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website to review and dispute any of the data reported about them. CMS will make the data public on September 30, 2014. Dean Krugman urges you to review as, based on previous news reports, we expect intense interest in the information.

Faculty Affairs has prepared a useful summary of the issue.

Now Seeking Nominations for Faculty Professionalism Award

The Faculty Senate last week announced its call for nominations for the School of Medicine Faculty Professionalism Award. The award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has served as a role model for professionalism. It is presented in August at the School of Medicine matriculation ceremony. Award criteria and nomination packets are available online. Nominations are due by 5 p.m., Friday, July 11, to Director of Faculty Affairs, Cheryl Welch.

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