Longitudinal resident coaching in the outpatient setting: A novel intervention to improve ambulatory consultation skills

Ryan Graddy, Stasia S. Reynolds, Scott M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Direct observation with feedback to learners should be a mainstay in resident education, yet it is infrequently done and its impact on consultation skills has rarely been assessed. Approach: This project presents the framework and implementation of a longitudinal low-frequency, high-intensity direct observation and coaching intervention, and elaborates on insights learned. Internal medicine interns at one residency training program were randomized to an ambulatory coaching intervention or usual precepting. Over one year, coached interns had three complete primary care visits directly observed by a faculty clinician-coach who provided feedback informed by a behavior checklist. Immediately after each of the coached patient encounters, interns completed a structured self-assessment and coaches led a 30-minute feedback session informed by intern self-reflection and checklist items. Interns with usual precepting had two mini-CEX observations over the course of the year without other formal direct observation in the ambulatory setting. Evaluation: As part of the post-intervention assessment, senior faculty members blinded to intervention and control group assignments evaluated videotaped encounters. Coached interns completed an average of 21/23 behaviors from the checklist, while interns from the control group completed 18 (p < 0.05). The median overall grade for coached interns was B+, compared to B−/C+ for controls (p < 0.05). Reflection: Coaching interns longitudinally using a behavior checklist is feasible and associated with improved consultation performance. Direct observation of complete clinical encounters followed by systematic coaching is educationally valuable, but time and resource intensive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-190
Number of pages5
JournalPerspectives on Medical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Coaching
  • Deliberate practice
  • Direct observation
  • Graduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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