Improved training of house officers in a rheumatology consult service

Steven A. Mazzuca, Kenneth D. Brandt, Barry P. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This study examined whether the clinical environment could be used to increase internal medicinehouse officers' adoption of care recommendations taught in a didactic conference. Subjects were11 internal medicine house officers who served 6‐week rheumatology elective rotations. At the start of each of four rotation periods, house officers attended a 1‐hour conference in which periarticular rheumatic disorders associated with knee pain (anserine bursitis, pseudothrombo‐phlebitis) and shoulder pain (bicipital tendinitis) were discussed. All house officers also practiced physical examination techniques on anatomic models simulating the disorders. During alternate rotation periods, reminder sheets were appended to the records of arthritis patients with histories of chronic knee or shoulder pain. The frequency with which house officers followed conference recommendationswas documented by direct observation (6 house officers in 17 encounters with reminders, 5 house officers in 30 encounters without reminders). Specific questioning about a recent history of knee or shoulder pain and the performance of four of five recommended physical examination maneuvers were increased significantly by reminder sheets in patients' charts (P < 0.05 for all). Although rheumatology faculty often have limited options available to increase the number of house officer trainees or to intensify clinical activity, qualitative improvements within existing logistic parameters are feasible by assuring that the clinical environment (e.g., patient records) contains salient cues that will prompt desired actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalArthritis & Rheumatism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • Evaluation studies
  • Postgraduate medical education
  • Rheumatology elective rotation
  • Soft‐tissue rheumatism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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