OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review was to assess the current evidence regarding the efficacy of teaching skills programs for junior medical officers. We aimed to compare and contrast these results with findings from previous literature reviews, the last of which were published in 2009.
METHODS: In order to capture studies since the last published literature reviews, five databases and grey literature were searched for publications from January 2008 to January 2015. A search for literature reviews without using the timeframe limitation was also performed.
RESULTS: The search from January 2008 to January 2015 resulted in the inclusion of 12 studies. Five systematic reviews of the topic were found which included 39 individual studies that were also analysed. Nearly all studies reported positive effects. Twenty nine studies reported change in attitudes, 28 reported modification in knowledge, 28 reported change in behaviour, 6 reported change in the organisation and two reported change in program participant's students. There were substantial threats of bias present.
CONCLUSIONS: The literature reviewed demonstrated many positive effects of teaching skills programs, which supports their utilization. However, high level outcomes need to be evaluated over longer periods of time to establish their true impact. An organisation specific approach to these programs needs to occur using sound course design principles, and they need to be reported in evaluation trials that are designed with robust methodology.