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Date Updated: December 12, 2018

RENEW Task Force Explores Effects of Stress on Examinees at Recent Session

The Re-Examining Exams: NBME Effort on Wellness (RENEW) Task Force held a successful meeting at the end of October. The task force made progress in fulfilling its charge, which was as follows:

  • Understand the role high-stakes exams, such as USMLE, as well as secondary uses of those exams, play in affecting medical student and physician wellness
  • Develop and execute a research agenda that will lead to actionable interventions to promote wellness and mitigate burnout.
  • Support actionable interventions to promote wellness amongst learners and trainees in the context of assessment.

Following a briefing on other activities of organizations working to prevent physician burnout, task force members began working on the specifics of four studies:

  • Examining the effects of medical student well-being and stress on important assessment outcomes
  • Examining the relationships between stress, self-care, study behaviors, and performance on high stakes assessments in medical education
  • Medical student stressors and strategies used to navigate them: A qualitative study of medical students' lived experiences
  • Understanding how medical student knowledge and perceptions of USMLE shape student wellness

The task force members advanced their work by drafting focus group protocols, refining research questions, presenting to the larger group, and listening to feedback on their progress. One immediate step task force members took after the meeting was to connect with student attendees for a small pilot to vet draft focus group questions.

As a point of additional follow up, NBME staff will also seek the input of the Medical Student and Resident Advisory Panel to the USMLE Program at one of the panel's future meetings.

Plans are underway to continue progress on the studies and to present the themes from the findings at conferences late next year.



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