Background: Many patient care procedures are routinely performed by orthopaedic residents while not directly supervised by attending physicians. However, resident competence to perform these procedures is often presumed and not confirmed by objective measures. The purpose of this study was to formally evaluate 3 basic pediatric orthopaedic procedures commonly performed without attending supervision. Methods: All orthopaedic residents (n=20) were asked to complete 3 procedures (placement and removal of a short arm cast, aspiration of a knee joint, and compartment pressure checks of a leg) under direct attending supervision. Attending faculty developed a checklist for each procedure, listing the appropriate steps required and criteria with which to assess the final results. Scores were calculated, including means and SDs. Change in score by postgraduate year level was determined by simple linear regression. Results: The mean score for short arm cast application and removal was 6.2 of a total possible score of 8, with an average 1.1 increase in score per year of training (P<0.001). Uneven cast padding and lack of full thumb motion were the most common reasons for losing points. Knee joint aspiration had an average score of 6.2 of 7, with an average increase in score of 0.3 per year of training (P=0.046). Lack of equipment preparation and not donning gloves in a sterile manner were the most common reasons for losing points. Measure of leg compartment pressures had an average score of 9.7 of 12, with an average increase in score of 0.5 per increase in year of training (P=0.087). Injecting an inappropriate amount of fluid and not recording measurements were the most common reasons for losing points. Conclusions: The ability of a resident to appropriately perform certain procedures without direct supervision improves with advancing level of training. The most junior residents might not appropriately be placing short arm casts, aspirating knee joints, or checking compartment pressures of the leg. Level of Evidence: Level II-Diagnostic.
- Compartment pressure check
- Knee joint aspiration
- Orthopaedic residents
- Short arm cast
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine