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New Doctors Must Pass Boot Camp First before Practicing

Update Date: Jul 07, 2014 02:30 PM EDT

Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Feinberg medical school's boot camp program for new doctors can help relieve first day jitters. The program requires new interns to pass refresher courses before they can take on real patients.

The boot camp is a two to three day program that tests new interns on the basics of medical care. Some of the basic skills that are tested range from handling newborns at childbirth and delivering bad news to patients. For example, in one of the classes, new interns must watch an ethics expert reenact a scene in which the expert had to tell a single father that he was dying from advanced cancer. The expert demonstrated ways that the doctors could be empathetic. After the scene, the new doctors had to practice delivering bad news to fake patients.

"It was difficult going in because we were giving bad news to the patient and discussing end of life goals," said Namita Jain, 25, a recent Northwestern graduate who had to participate in the program. "It's nice to be able to practice."

According to the hospital and its adjoining medical school, the majority of the new interns, at 90 percent, pass the boot camp easily. For the remaining interns that do not pass, they will be tested until they do.

"We have great residents who come from all over the country, but we have no reliable way of knowing that these interns possess these skills," Dr. Diane Wayne, the medical school's vice dean of education, who created the boot camp in 2011 said reported by FOX News. "We just don't want to subject patients to newly minted residents."

In 2012, the program won an award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, which stated that the doctor-training program could improve patient safety. Despite the good reception to the program, there is no evidence that the program has prevented deaths that could be tied to new doctors. However, if the program's refresher courses could indeed reduce death risk and increase safety for hospital patients, more hospitals might benefit from including this program into their routine as well.

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