Hospital consultants and workplace based assessments: how foundation doctors view these educational interactions?

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Abstract

Aim

To determine how foundation year 2 (F2) doctors view the input of hospital consultants into their workplace based assessments (WPBAs).

Study design

F2 doctors in Northern Ireland participated in an electronic survey to evaluate their experiences of foundation programme WPBAs. The opportunity to participate was available to all F2 doctors. The survey was performed using questions displayed electronically and the responses were collated using Turning Point technology. Two weeks later a focus group was convened to assess the issues raised by the electronic survey.

Results

Consultant input into foundation doctor's WPBAs was an infrequent occurrence. The F2 doctors expressed a clear view that they valued consultant input, when this occurred. The WPBAs gave the foundation doctors an opportunity to have a one to one learning opportunity with their supervising consultants. However, many of the WPBAs were completed by other doctors in training, in the grades immediately above the foundation doctors. It was suggested that friendship could influence these assessments.

Conclusions

Completion of foundation doctors' assessments by hospital consultants is viewed as a low priority. These assessments are being completed to a large extent by fellow doctors in training. The learning opportunities are consequently less educationally productive. F2 doctors want more opportunities for valued consultant interaction with timely feedback. Suggestions are proposed to improve WPBA implementation. The present WPBA process lacks integrity and a change in approach is urgently required.

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