Background: In our region, it was acknowledged that the process of assessment needed to be improved, but before developing a system for this, there was a need to define the “competent or satisfactory trainee”.
Objective: To outline the process by which a consensus was achieved on this standard, and how a system for formally assessing competency across a wide range of knowledge skills and attitudes was subsequently agreed on, thus enabling increased opportunities for training and feedback and improving the accuracy of assessment in the region.
Methods: The opinions of trainees and trainers from across the region were collated, and a consensus was achieved with regard to the minimum acceptable standard for a trainee in emergency medicine, thus defining a competent trainee. The group that set the standard then focused on identifying the assessment methods most appropriate for the evaluation of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of an emergency medicine trainee. The tool was subsequently trialled for a period of 6 months, and opinion evaluated by use of a questionnaire.
Results: The use of the tool was reviewed from both the trainers’ and trainees’ perspectives. 42% (n = 11) of trainers and 31% (n = 8) trainees responded to the questionnaire. In the region, there were 26 trainers and 26 trainees. Five trainees and nine trainers had used the tool. 93% (14/15) of respondents thought that the descriptors used to describe the satisfactory trainee were acceptable; 89% (8/9) of trainers thought that it helped them assess trainees more accurately. 60% (3/5) of trainees thought that, as a result, they had a better understanding of their weak areas.
Conclusion: We believe that we achieved a consensus across our region as to what defined a satisfactory trainee and set the standard against which all our trainees would subsequently be evaluated. The use of this tool to assess trainees during the pilot period was disappointing; however, we were encouraged that most of those using the tool thought that it allowed an objective assessment of trainees and feedback on areas requiring further work. Those who used the tool identified important reasons that may have hindered widespread use of the assessment tool.
- Mini-CEX, mini-clinical evaluation exercise
- SpR, specialist registrar
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Competing interests: None.