Assessment of competence: developing trends and ethical considerations

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Purpose of review

This review explores new concepts in competency assessment in anesthesiology, the associated ethical challenges, and directions for new research.

Recent findings

Many new tools for the assessment of competence are currently in development to address changes in medical education curricula. The assessment of competence currently focuses on technical skills, nontechnical skills, and the interaction of both through the use of simulation, with increasing emphasis on validity and reliability testing.


The search for objective measures of competence is well underway. Current methods require substantial investment of resources, and further research into more efficient and financially feasible tools of assessment is needed. As these assessments become more common in use, the ethical challenges raised by defining competency in high-stakes clinical practice situations will need to be addressed.

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