From theory to actual practice: Creation and application of milestones in an internal medicine residency program, 2004-2010

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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BACKGROUND: In the USA, the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education, Educational Innovations Project is a partner in reshaping residency training to meet increasingly complex systems of health care delivery. AIM: We describe the creation and implementation of milestones as a vehicle for translating educational theory into practice in preparing residents to provide safe, autonomous patient care. METHOD: Six program faculty leaders, all with advanced medical education training, met in an iterative process of developing, implementing, and modifying milestones until a final set were vetted. RESULTS: We first formed the profile of a Master Internist. We then translated it into milestone language and implemented its integration across the program. Thirty-seven milestones were applied in all settings and rotations to reach explicit educational outcomes. We created three types of milestones: Progressive, build one on top of the other to mastery; additive, adding multiple behaviors together to culminate in mastery; and descriptive, using a proscribe set of complex, predetermined steps toward mastery. CONCLUSIONS: Using milestones, our program has enhanced an educational model into explicit, end of training goals. Milestone implementation has yielded positive results toward competency-based training and others may adapt our strategies in a similar effort.

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