The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a role-play telephone management curriculum on history taking and management skills. The study was a nonrandomized controlled trial carried out in the outpatient department of a primary care pediatric residency training program. Six PL-I residents (treatment group) participated in a role play curriculum during their first month of rotation through the outpatient department; seven PL-I residents (control group) received no formal instruction in telephone management. Baseline performance was measured on entry into the study using telephone calls made by a "simulated" mother using standardized scripts. Follow-up calls were made approximately 3 months later. Transcripts of these calls were rated by examiners who were unaware of group assignment using a standardized instrument that measured three aspects of performance: general history taking, specific history taking, and general management. Results were as follows: Mean posttest scores for the combined groups were: 59.4% (general history taking), 75.9% (specific history taking), and 77.7% (general management). By analysis of covariance, treatment group residents had significantly higher posttest scores in general history taking than control group residents (67.1% v 53.6%, P = .004). This difference occurred without a significant increase in the time spent answering the call. These data indicate that a role play curriculum results in improved performance in at least one aspect of telephone management.

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