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Reliability of assessment of medical students’ non-technical skills using a behavioural marker system: does clinical experience matter?

Abstract

Introduction Non-technical skills are recognised to play an integral part in safe and effective patient care. Medi-StuNTS (Medical Students’ Non-Technical Skills) is a behavioural marker system developed to enable assessment of medical students’ non-technical skills. This study aimed to assess whether newly trained raters with high levels of clinical experience could achieve reliability coefficients of >0.7 and to compare differences in inter-rater reliability of raters with varying clinical experience.

Methods Forty-four raters attended a workshop on Medi-StuNTS before independently rating three videos of medical students participating in immersive simulation scenarios. Data were grouped by raters’ levels of clinical experience. Inter-rater reliability was assessed by calculating intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC).

Results Eleven raters with more than 10 years of clinical experience achieved single-measure ICC of 0.37 and average-measures ICC of 0.87. Fourteen raters with more than or equal to 5 years and less than 10 years of clinical experience achieved single-measure ICC of 0.09 and average-measures ICC of 0.59. Nineteen raters with less than 5 years of clinical experience achieved single-measure ICC of 0.09 and average-measures ICC 0.65.

Conclusions Using 11 newly trained raters with high levels of clinical experience produced highly reliable ratings that surpassed the prespecified inter-rater reliability standard; however, a single rater from this group would not achieve sufficiently reliable ratings. This is consistent with previous studies using other medical behavioural marker systems. This study demonstrated a decrease in inter-rater reliability of raters with lower levels of clinical experience, suggesting caution when using this population as raters for assessment of non-technical skills.

  • Non-Technical Skills
  • Medical Student
  • Simulation Based Education
  • Reliability

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