Introduction: Curriculum mapping allows examination of a delivered curriculum and is a method of quality assurance. A formative process, it aims to make the curriculum transparent to stake-holders and demonstrate links between curriculum components.
Sampling methods: The opportunity to achieve each competency within the 2010 UK higher medical training Geriatric Curriculum was judged by trainers and trainees to be red, amber or green where ‘red’ implies no opportunity to gain a competency, ‘amber’ provides limited opportunities, and ‘green’ represents ample opportunity. This system has been utilised effectively in previous studies by the authors who found it communicates universally and is easily understood. Free text space was included for comments on the process.
Results: Five UK deaneries took part. Perceived opportunities varied between trainers and trainees. The data highlighted common problem competencies throughout the UK; tissue viability, incontinence, community. The newly introduced Higher Speciality grids were universally difficult to achieve. Lack of an understanding of the curriculum became apparent together with the differing degree of curriculum requirements between individual competencies. Comments of the process were positive, confirming ease and practicality of use with four themes identified: survey content/format, user friendliness, definitional drift, curriculum issues.
Conclusions: Curriculum mapping empowers trainees and trainers making the curriculum and local training opportunities transparent, allowing planning of training to meet individual needs, and highlighting competencies that may not be attainable. It should be adopted nationally as a method of ensuring quality assurance of training. It also can be used to influence curriculum design. The process is limited as perception of ease of competency attainment is subjective. We aimed to reduce this by triangulating answers between trainers and trainees. The Competency Mapping process used was well received and is easily transferable across other medical specialities.