NBME stands for National Board of Medical Examiners. The NBME manages and develops the USMLE.
What does the NBME do?
The NBME ensures your doctors basically anyone on your healthcare team has met their professional standards. The NBME protects the public’s health through the state-of-the-art assessment. Here is one more fun fact about NBME that it turns a 102-year-old this year. The NBME also helps the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners create assessments for veterinarians. Now, the word ‘assessment’ is a euphemism for tests, right? There is no one who likes tests but an assessment, Yeah! Sure, I will take one of those. Pretty Crafty NBME!!
Actually, a test is one kind of assessment but the NBME develops other assessments too, like assessments that professionals can take on their own, online. Just to judge for themselves whether they are keeping up with new developments. So, people can take assessments to sort of test themselves just for fun? Students use the NBME assessments online to fine tune their studies. Medical schools use the NBME assessments to see how students are progressing. Medical boards, healthcare professionals, academic institutions, licensing agencies all of them count on NBME for the state-of-the-art assessments, as they are undoubtedly considered the assessment innovators.
It all began in 1897, when Dr. William L. Rodman, a surgeon from Kentucky and an important player in the huge reforms of medical education which was about to take place then, moved to Pennsylvania and discovered his medical license would not transfer, then all of a sudden Dr. Rodman had to clear the Pennsylvania requirements which included a whole new test. Dr. Rodman was not a guy who took things lightly. Hence, he founded the NBME in 1915 to create one licensing exam that all states would accept. Yes! Dr. Rodman was the guy that said we need a high-quality medical licensure exam that would meet the needs of every state licensing authority. And that’s what happens now. So, the patients all over the United States know that their doctors have met the same standards. Over time, the NBME began to create tests for other health care professionals and other kinds of assessments as well.
The first exam was quite different than it is today. First of all, it lasted for 6 days. Secondly, all the test takers had to demonstrate surgical skills for other surgical techniques. For e.g. On the first exam by sewing together two pieces of small intestine without the benefit of standardizing patients and simulation centers. We can only imagine where the examiners got the practice intestine.
In 1954, John Howard the founder of the modern NBME led a research that changed the format of the oral examination to multiple choice questions for most of the components of the test.
Every student would agree that studying for or taking the USMLE is definitely a rite of passage. The United States Medical Licensing Examination or the USMLE is the exam what NBME is most known for. It dropped the clinical parts in 1964, once in a while the procedural skills for the patients and in 2004 they added an exam with standardized patients. That’s when the test taker does a mark exam on people trained to act like patients with the different diagnosis.
Can this assessment really screen a doctor’s competence?
The question in all the assessments undergoes rigorous reviews by the professional staff. They have got 450 staff members and volunteers, more than 300 professionals and research theatres each year. Hundreds of healthcare professionals volunteer to serve on NBME faculty since they understand how important good assessments are and to make sure that all the members of their profession can provide excellent care to patients.
The NBME is more than just a testing Organization. The test is just one tool they use to assess healthcare professionals. In the future, they will use many more sources of information to judge the competence of healthcare professionals.
The mission to protect the health of the public has remained the same for the past 102 years.
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