Progress toward improving medical school graduates' skills via a "boot camp" curriculum

Diane B. Wayne*, Elaine R. Cohen, Benjamin D. Singer, Farzad Moazed, Jeffrey H. Barsuk, Elizabeth Allison Lyons, John Butter, William C. McGaghie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Medical school graduates are expected to possess a broad array of clinical skills. However, concerns have been raised regarding the preparation of medical students to enter graduate medical education. We designed a simulation-based "boot camp" experience for students entering internal medicine residency and compared medical student performance with the performance of historical controls who did not complete boot camp. METHODS: This was a cohort study of a simulation-based boot camp educational intervention. Twenty medical students completed 2 days (16 hours) of small group simulation-based education and individualized feedback and skills assessment. Skills included (a) physical examination techniques (cardiac auscultation); technical procedures including (b) paracentesis and (c) lumbar puncture; (d) recognition and management of patients with life-threatening conditions (intensive care unit clinical skills/mechanical ventilation); and (e) communication with patients and families (code status discussion). Student posttest scores were compared with baseline scores of postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) historical controls to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. RESULTS: Boot camp-trained medical students performed significantly better than PGY-1 historical controls on each simulated skill (P < 0.01). Results remained significant after controlling for age, sex, and US Medical Licensing Examination step 1 and 2 scores (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: A 2-day simulation-based boot camp for graduating medical students boosted a variety of clinical skills to levels significantly higher than PGY-1 historical controls. Simulation-based education shows promise to help ensure that medical school graduates are prepared to begin postgraduate training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalSimulation in Healthcare
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Boot camp
  • Clinical skill assessment
  • Simulation-based education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Modeling and Simulation


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