The incidence of musculoskeletal disease is increasing in Australia and around the world. However, medical student education does not necessarily reflect current and projected trends in musculoskeletal medicine. The aim of this study was to assess junior doctors' competency in musculoskeletal medicine using the Freedman and Bernstein Basic Competency Examination in Musculoskeletal Medicine questionnaire.
We conducted a cohort study of interns (first year post medical school) across four teaching hospitals in Australia. Interns were asked to take the Freedman and Bernstein examination during organised intern teaching sessions, and results were analysed using the original Freedman and Bernstein marking criteria and validated pass mark.
The mean score for the 92 interns was 13.9 out of 25 (55%) with scores ranging from 8 to 20.8 (29-83%). Only 8 of the 92 interns (8.7%) achieved a score of greater than 73%, the pre-specified pass mark.
Our study identifies inadequacies in musculoskeletal medical knowledge in Australian interns. Review of undergraduate medical education may be required to reflect current and predicted trends in the prevalence of musculoskeletal disease and adequately prepare junior doctors.