News nr. 23 | September/October 2011
Print | Send
 | Voltar
FMUL - Participation in the Medical Knowledge Test_Mod. NBME
FMUL - Participation in the Medical Knowledge Test_Mod. NBME

Dra. Isabel Aguiar
Director of Services
FMUL Department of Administrative Management

The Medical Internship Candidate Ranking National Exam is a decisive time in the professional life of doctors. The current format has attracted criticism from students, medical schools and the Medical Internship National Council.

Following a long process of analysis and discussion, the Medical Internship National Council and the Portuguese Medical Schools submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health for a trial to be done nationwide in order to develop an alternative model. The purpose of the trial is to develop a written test based on international quality criteria that is adequate to ranking candidates to Medical Internships. The Ministry of Health has agreed to this proposal in September 2008.

It was deemed important to involve a specialized agency with internationally renowned competence in this process. The choice fell on the prestigious North American agency National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), an institution involved in the certification and accreditation of doctors in North America.

The first experiment took place in May 2009, and the quality of the test and security procedures associated to it were unanimously recognized.

With the aim of enabling students to experience the kind of questions asked according to NBME procedures, the Portuguese Pilot Text was held at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon on 28 September 2011. Out of the 366 students who enrolled, 283 showed up.

The Faculty Director appointed Professor José Luís Ducla Soares to lead this process. The technical and administrative services of the Faculty were mobilized to ensure the logistics, as well as all those responsible for the various educational sectors, to guarantee the necessary monitoring of the test.

In order to ensure that the test complied with the norms imposed by NBME, namely in terms of security and confidentiality, distinct technical procedures were carried out: 

- Creation of reserved access areas; 
- Putting up signposting with useful information for candidates; 
- Establishment of a check-in area to validate enrolments, manned by 8 non-teaching members of staff; 
- Provision of specific support material in the room; 
- Setting up teams with specific duties and levels of responsibility [Lead Monitor, Lead Monitor Assistant, Supporting Monitor], which involved 20 academics and 24 non-academic members of staff; 
-  Verification of materials received and shipped, with specific reports.

NBME sent to Portugal Dr. John Phebus, Program Manager for International Programs to monitor this process and observe the preparation and administration of the test. He visited the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon in the morning of 28 September.

Candidates’ participation was entirely on a volunteer basis and the results of the test will only be disclosed to them. Institutions will receive aggregate information resulting from the set of results.

This experience was seen as very positive by all students and lecturers involved, and it went quite well. It enabled us to create tools for logistic support, manage areas and additional support areas, distribute resources, and identify potential difficulties that may contribute to improving this process in a possible edition to be held in 2012.



Search all of the published newsletters



Subscribe our Newsletter and receive all the updated information about activities, news, events and other FMUL activities



Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes
Editorial Commitee: Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes, Prof. Doutor Alexandre Ribeiro, Prof. Doutor António Vaz Carneiro, Prof. Doutor João Ferreira, Dr. Luis Pereira
Information Officer: Ana Raquel Moreira
Editorial Team: Ana Maria Silva, Ana Raquel Moreira, André Silva, Lara Ponte, Miguel Andrade, Rui Gomes, Sónia Barroso, Susana Henriques, Tânia Simões
Collaboration: Communication and Image Office - Ana Isabel Gonçalves da Silva, Bruno Moura
Design and Technical Support: UTI 
Design and development: Spirituc