A member of our Stanford 25 team, Dr. Andy Elder, recently published his thoughts about his visiting professorship to Stanford last year. Dr. Elder is now the Medical Director of the MRCP(UK) examination, one part of which is the PACES bedside skills examination – which, with 5,000 candidates sitting per year in fifteen countries around the world, is the largest international postgraduate clinical skills assessment in the world. In this article he shares his views on the importance of the bedside exam. He also discusses how a physical skills assessment, unlike what we have in the US, is paramount towards ensuring our future doctors are adequately trained.
“The continuing existence of a high-stakes clinical examination such as PACES sends a powerful message to the public – that the profession of medicine still values the ability to assess a patient by talk and touch. And by abandoning such examinations and institutionalising the erroneous belief that assessments of knowledge will ensure that doctors possess all the attributes that patients deserve, bedside clinical skills are systematically and explicitly devalued, neither taught nor learned, and destined to be lost.” Dr. Andy Elder