Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
VAZQUEZ MARTINEZ, Francisco Domingo. Professional competencies of nursing, medical, and dental interns performing social service in Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.4, pp. 298-304. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010001000009.
OBJECTIVE: Determine the degree to which nursing, medical, and dental interns performing social service in Mexico have the professional competencies required to practice the profession. METHODS: The results of the general examinations for completion of the undergraduate degree, administered between 2006 and 2008 to students in the nursing, medical, and dentistry programs by the National Center for Higher Education Assessment, were reviewed. RESULTS: Of the 39 824 graduates in the three programs who were tested during the period in question, 12 845 did not exhibit the minimum professional competencies. In nursing, out of the total students tested in the three-year period, 3 765 (30.2%) performed inadequately; in medicine, the figure was 6 704 (32.7%), and in dentistry, 2 376 (34.1%). Notwithstanding, backed by the respective regulations, all them were practicing, or had practiced, as professionals, serving as members of the health team in health institutions (approximately 11% of the Ministry of Health workforce in those professions). CONCLUSIONS: Interns are the bedrock of health care for the rural population, but approximately one-third of them lack the basic competencies to practice their profession. It is imperative that they demonstrate professional competence before beginning their social service and that they be closely supervised, both academically and professionally, during their internship.
Keywords : Health manpower; professional competence; education, medical; undergraduate, education, nursing; education, dental; Mexico.