Use of Entrustable Professional Activities in the Assessment of Surgical Resident Competency

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Abstract

Importance

Competency-based assessments of surgical resident performance require metrics of entrustable autonomy.

Objectives

To designate entrustable professional activities (EPAs) in global performance and in specific operations, and to identify differences in perceived capability, autonomy, and expectations between surgical faculty and residents.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This survey study was conducted from August 9, 2016, through August 24, 2016, in the Department of Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. The survey instrument consisted of 5-point Likert scales for assessing perceptions of entrustability for 5 global and 5 operative EPAs. Faculty members were surveyed regarding resident capabilities and expected capabilities by postgraduate year. Residents were surveyed regarding their own capabilities, actual autonomy entrusted in the last EPA performed, and expected capabilities.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Differences in mean ratings were assessed across 7 comparison domains.

Results

Among 78 total faculty members, 31 (40%) participated in the survey. Among 49 residents, 39 (80%) participated in the survey. Residents generally rated their global EPA performance higher than the faculty did (mean, 3.7 vs 2.8; P < .01), but operative EPA performance ratings were equivalent (mean, 2.7 vs 2.4; P < .12). Faculty members perceived senior residents as underperforming expectations in operative EPAs. Most faculty members (80%) expected residents not to be independently capable of performing complex operations by graduation. Faculty members perceived residents in postgraduate years 4 and 5 to have greater operative capability than the level of autonomy entrusted to those residents (95% CI, 3.3-3.5 vs 1.9-2.2).

Conclusions and Relevance

Global and operative EPAs are practical for developing competency-based curricula. Graduated autonomy should be granted to improve the operative experience for residents.

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