Introduction: Clinical assessment of medical students in emergency medicine (EM) clerkships is a highly variable process that presents unique challenges and opportunities. Currently, clerkship directors use institution-specific tools with unproven validity and reliability that may or may not address competencies valued most highly in the EM setting. Standardization of assessment practices and development of a common, valid, specialty-specific tool would benefit EM educators and students.
Methods: A two-day national consensus conference was held in March 2016 in the Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine (CDEM) track at the Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine (CORD) Academic Assembly in Nashville, TN. The goal of this conference was to standardize assessment practices and to create a national clinical assessment tool for use in EM clerkships across the country. Conference leaders synthesized the literature, articulated major themes and questions pertinent to clinical assessment of students in EM, clarified the issues, and outlined the consensus-building process prior to consensus-building activities.
Results: The first day of the conference was dedicated to developing consensus on these key themes in clinical assessment. The second day of the conference was dedicated to discussing and voting on proposed domains to be included in the national clinical assessment tool. A modified Delphi process was initiated after the conference to reconcile questions and items that did not reach an a priori level of consensus.
Conclusion: The final tool, the National Clinical Assessment Tool for Medical Students in Emergency Medicine (NCAT-EM) is presented here.