Residency program directors' perceptions about the impact of the American Board of Anesthesiology's Objective Structured Clinical Examination

Dandan Chen, Huaping Sun, David O. Warner, Alex Macario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study objective: To describe how the introduction of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) to its initial certification impacted anesthesiology residencies in the United States. Design and setting: A sequential mixed-methods design with focus groups and online survey among program directors of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited anesthesiology residencies. Patients: No patients were included. Intervention: None. Measurements: A convenience sample of 34 program directors were interviewed to understand their perceptions of the ABA OSCE. Subsequently, an online survey, based on major themes identified from the focus groups, was sent to all 156 program directors. Main results: Several themes emerged from the focus group discussions: (1) a mock OSCE was most common for preparing residents for the ABA OSCE; 2) the ABA OSCE led to changes in residency curriculum; 3) the ABA OSCE assessed communication and professionalism skills well, and how well it assessed technical skills was less agreed on. Survey results from 87 program directors (response rate = 56%) were mostly consistent with the themes generated by the focus groups. Eight-one out of 87 programs (93%) specifically prepared their residents for the ABA OSCE. Fifty-two out of 81 program directors (64%) reported the introduction of the ABA OSCE led to curricular changes. Out of 79 program directors, 45 (57%) agreed the ABA OSCE assesses skills essential to anesthesiology practice, and 40 (51%) considered it added value to board certification. Conclusions: The introduction of the OSCE by the ABA for board certification has affected the curriculum of many residencies. Approximately 3 in 5 program directors perceived the ABA OSCE measures skills essential to anesthesiologists' practice. Future studies should assess residency graduates' perspective on the usefulness of both mock OSCE preparation and the ABA OSCE, and whether the ABA OSCE performance predicts future clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110439
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Board certification
  • OSCE impact
  • Residency training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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