Physicians, trainees call for an end of the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam

More than 16,500 students, residents, and physicians have joined a nationwide campaign calling on the National Board of Medical Examiners to replace the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam with one that is less of a financial burden. The exam is offered at five sites nationwide and tests the students’ bedside manner through staged clinical interaction simulations. Supporters of the petition say the $1,275 registration fee is too much for fourth-year medical students, who also must bear the costs of travel when interviewing for residency programs. They suggest that an alternative exam administered by individual medical schools for free could provide a better assessment of students’ skills.

However, licensing boards argue that because not all medical schools provide the same level of training, students must undergo independent standardized testing to show their ability to provide quality care.

“Licensing boards have to have some bellwether to say this student has the competence to go into practice,” said Kim Edward LeBlanc, executive director of the Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, which oversees the Step 2 exam. “The students bring up some legitimate concerns. But after 14 years on a licensing board, I can tell you that I would not feel comfortable giving a license to someone without this exam.”

The AMA and the Massachusetts Medical Society have declared their support for revising the test to make it more accomodating for medical students.

Source: The Washington Post