In spring 2020, a collaboration between O&P master’s programs was begun to gain insight into how residents progress from student to independent practitioner. Two programs—one with an integrated 18-month residency model with nationwide rotations and another with a traditional 12-month residency model at an academic medical center—decided to use residency data to better understand what the pathway to competence looks like for residents. This partnership evolved into a scientific inquiry focused on their residency programs. Taking a closer look at the residency programs involved evaluating their models, honing a research question and methods, obtaining institutional review board approval, aggregating the available data, and analyzing the results.
This experience showed how thoughtful assessment of O&P residency programs can be used as a tool to evaluate our clinical practice and prepare the next generation of clinicians. Considering residency training through a data-driven approach will allow clinical sites to set benchmarks for device competency and resident autonomy and facilitate comparison of residency experiences.