Currently, no standardized methods exist to assess the geriatric skills and training needs of internal medicine trainees to enable them to become confident in caring for older patients. This study aimed to describe the self-reported confidence and training requirements in core geriatric skills amongst internal medicine residents in Toronto, Ontario using a standardized assessment tool.
This study used a novel self-rating instrument, known as the Geriatric Skills Assessment Tool (GSAT), among incoming and current internal medicine residents at the University of Toronto, to describe self-reported confidence in performing, teaching and interest in further training with regard to 15 core geriatric skills previously identified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
190 (75.1%) out of 253 eligible incoming (Year 0) and current internal medicine residents (Years 1-3) completed the GSAT. Year 1-3 internal medicine residents who had completed a geriatric rotation reported being significantly more confident in performing 13/15 (P < 0.001 to P = 0.04) and in teaching 9/15 GSAT skills (P < 0.001 to P = 0.04). Overall, the residents surveyed identified their highest confidence in administering the Mini-Mental Status Examination and lowest confidence in assessing fall risk using a gait and balance tool, and in evaluating and managing chronic pain.
A structured needs assessment like the GSAT can be valuable in identifying the geriatric training needs of internal medicine trainees based on their reported levels of self-confidence. Residents in internal medicine could further benefit from completing a mandatory geriatric rotation early in their training, since this may improve their overall confidence in providing care for the mostly older patients they will work with during their residency and beyond.

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