Direct observation of medical students' clinical skills is important, but occurs infrequently. The mini-clinical evaluation exercise (mCEX) is a tool developed for use with internal medicine (IM) residents that can be used to promote direct observation of medical students' clinical skills. It is unknown how many IM core clerkships in the United States use the mCEX or how it has been implemented.METHODS
Questions about use of the mCEX were incorporated into an online annual survey distributed to the 114 IM clerkships belonging to Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine, a national organization of individuals responsible for teaching IM to medical students.RESULTS
The survey response rate was 83%. Twenty-eight percent (N=27) of respondents use the mCEX in their clerkship. The mean number of required mCEX encounters is 2.3 (SD 1.6). The mCEX is used for formative assessment (68%) more than summative assessment (11%). Ward attendings are the most common mCEX evaluators (72%).DISCUSSION
The mCEX is being used to promote direct observation of medical students' clinical skills in a significant minority of IM core clerkships. The mCEX is 1 tool for facilitating feedback from both faculty and residents on trainees' developing skills.