The acute dialysis orders objective structured clinical examination (OSCE): Fellow performance on a formative assessment of acute kidney replacement therapy competence

Consortium (NERDC) for the Nephrology Education Research and Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and objectives Acute kidney replacement therapy (KRT) prescription is a critical nephrology skill. We administered a formative objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) to nephrology fellows to assess acute KRT medical knowledge, patient care, and systems-based practice competencies. Design, setting, participants, & measurements Prospective cohort study of an educational test using the unified model of construct validity. We tested 117 fellows: 25 (four programs) in 2016 and 92 (15 programs) in 2017; 51 first-year and 66 second-year fellows. Using institutional protocols and order sets, fellows wrote orders and answered open-ended questions on a three-scenario OSCE, previously validated by board-certified, practicing clinical nephrologists. Outcomes were overall and scenario pass percentage and score; percent correctly answering predetermined, evidence-based questions; second-year score correlation with in-training examination score; and satisfaction survey. Results A total of 76% passed scenario 1 (acute continuous RRT): 92% prescribed a ≥20 ml/kg per hour effluent dose; 63% estimated clearance as effluent volume. Forty-two percent passed scenario 2 (maintenance dialysis initiation); 75% correctly prescribed 3–4 mEq/L K+ dialysate and 12% identified the two absolute, urgent indications for maintenance dialysis initiation (uremic encephalopathy and pericarditis). Six percent passed scenario 3 (acute life-threatening hyperkalemia); 20% checked for rebound hyperkalemia with two separate blood draws. Eighty-three percent correctly withheld intravenous sodium bicarbonate for acute hyperkalemia in a nonacidotic, volume-overloaded patient on maintenance dialysis, and 32% passed overall. Second-year versus first-year fellow overall score was 44.4±4 versus 42.7±5 (one-tailed P=0.02), with 39% versus 24% passing (P=0.08). Second-year in-training examination and OSCE scores were not significantly correlated (r=0.15; P=0.26). Seventy-seven percent of fellows agreed the OSCE was useful in assessing “proficiency in ordering” acute KRT. Limitations include lack of a validated criterion test, and unfamiliarity with open-ended question format. Conclusions The OSCE can provide quantitative data for formative Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competency assessments and identify opportunities for dialysis curriculum development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1354
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


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