You are the manger of an orthopedic clinic; you have been tasked to assess the competency of staff in your work area. In particular you have been asked to assess their knowledge base of common diseases, diagnoses and surgical procedures frequently seen in your clinic.
How do you plan to accomplish this assessment and what areas will you look at?
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There are probably paper and pencil tests available, or you could create your own that would also assess the staff's knowledge of diseases and treatments. I am assuming you are assessing your help and support staff, not your doctors who should be state board certified in their fields. No matter who you are evaluating, it is only appropriate that they know that they are being evaluated, and I think they should also be told the method of evaluation you are using.
I would suggest watching an evaluation preformed by the staff. You can set up specific patients who have specific problems which you wish your staff to be knowledgeable about. Therefore, you can see them "in action" and evaluate them accordingly.
Another way to assess the competency of your staff is to get other trained individuals to assess them. This is the most effective way to assess a person. This is especially so, if you are not trained in medicine, as you will not be able to pick up the subtleties and nuances. In light of this, I would hire a professional to examine their clinical skills as well as their medical knowledge.
The great challenge would possibly lie in finding under-cover patients who could portray some of the underlying diagnoses (fractures due to bone cancer, displacement of joint(s) due to collisions, genetic deformities) that an orthopedic clinic would be likely to encounter, but a combination of objective evaluation and hands-on observation would certainly be the best and most complete method of assessment.
I agree with earlier posters who suggest that a combination of objective testing (through standard exams) as well as actual observation would be best. It might be good to have the observation done by someone not already affiliated with the clinic, so as to exclude (as much as possible) personal bias. If it were possible, it might also be good to have the assessment done by so-called "secret shoppers" -- that is, by qualified persons who presented themselves as patients and who were in a position to assess how effectively they were assessed and treated by the clinic's staff.
As with any profession, regular evaluations of job performance are both typical and necessary. In the medical profession, not only are they regularly evaluated through observation and assessment, or through mentoring, but they have to be certified to practice their specialty, from CNA up through surgeon. No one gets to be a doctor without passing their boards, so you would also have a starting point to assess their knowledge and ability.
You could round up pictures of ailments, or even people your staff have not seen that have them, and then have them describe the disease and how to treat it. Mystery patients might be good. They come in, you know what they have, and you see if your staff correctly diagnoses them but the staff does not know it's a test.
I wonder whether you might like to think about carrying out a series of observations of your staff dealing with patients too. This would enable you to see if they not only know the theory, but can apply it in practice, which is of course what is most important.
Presumably, you would want to do this by administering some sort of testing to the staff. You would want to give them, for example, MRIs to look at to see if they can diagnose things like ACL tears. You might give them patient histories with patients' responses about what sort of pain they are experiencing when they have something like carpal tunnel syndrome.
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