GP Training - Make the most of your ePortfolio

Careful planning will help you to get the most out the ePortfolio.

Have your ePortfolio open every day so you can add to it after surgeries (Photograph: SPL)
Have your ePortfolio open every day so you can add to it after surgeries (Photograph: SPL)

For those of you starting out on the VTS, the ePortfolio will become your learning record for the workplace-based assessment (WPBA). The framework for WPBA comprises 12 competences (see box) and these are assessed throughout the three years using different tools to demonstrate evidence of competency.

WPBA Competences
1. Communication and consultation skills
2. Practising holistically
3. Data gathering and interpretation
4. Making a diagnosis/decisions
5. Clinical management
6. Managing medical complexity
7. Administration and information management
8. Working with colleagues and in teams
9. Community orientation
10. Maintaining performance, learning and teaching
11. Maintaining an ethical approach
12. Fitness to practise

ePortfolio start
To get the most out of the ePortfolio it is important to become familiar with it and document learning from the beginning. Document interesting cases, tutorials, educational events, online learning, significant event analyses, audit, presentations, out-of-hours sessions and what you have done on the VTS half-day release. Ask your trainer to validate your ePortfolio regularly and discuss any concerns. When you record each new learning log, select which curriculum statement it covers. This way you can review which curriculum areas you have good coverage of and which you need to focus your learning on.

Personal development plan
At the beginning of each six month post discuss with your supervisor what your learning objectives are and make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART).

You can add other objectives as they arise and any appropriate learning log activities that have led to learning objectives that can be transferred from your learning log to your personal development plan.

Demonstrating competency
The evidence for the WPBA is gathered using the following designated and validated tools:

  • Case-based discussion (CBD) is an interview where the GP registrar selects a clinical case and prepares written notes about the case.
  • Consultation observation tool (COT) can be either a directly observed consultation by your trainer or an assessment of a videoed consultation with feedback and discussion. The equivalent of the COT in hospital posts is the clinical evaluation exercise (mini-CEX). The minimum number of CBDs and COTs required is six of each in ST1 and ST2, with 12 of each in ST3. A range of contexts and settings should be used.
  • Multi-source feedback (MSF) from a sample of colleagues. Two cycles need to be done in ST1 and two cycles in ST3.
  • Patient satisfaction questionnaire (PSQ) to obtain feedback from the patient about the consultation. It will be done once if the GP registrar is in general practice for 12 months.
  • Direct observation of procedural skills (DOPS). These observed encounters are normally done in ST1 and ST2 in hospital posts. There are eight mandatory and 11 optional procedures.

Review preparation
To prepare for a review look at 'review preparation' on the ePortfolio home page. Most GP registrars will not be deemed competent at the beginning of their training as they are judged by the standard they should have reached at the end of their training.

A clinical supervisor's report is needed for each six month post. This is followed by educational supervision. For each educational supervision the GP registrar looks at the breadth of curriculum coverage, their skills log and competency self-rating against each of the 12 competency areas.

Think about the evidence you have to back up your self rating. An annual review of competence progression occurs every 12 months by a deanery panel.

Last six months
The key to finishing the ePortfolio with minimal stress is to work out when everything needs to be finished and then plan your time. Draw up a timetable with your trainer to ensure you cover all areas.

  • Dr Carter is a locum GP in West Yorkshire
Key Points
  • Use the ePortfolio from the beginning of your training.
  • Have your ePortfolio open every day so that you can add to it at the end of each surgery.
  • If you struggle to document learning log activities as they happen, set aside one hour each week to do this.
  • Ask your trainer if you can document your tutorial as you go along.
  • Remember out-of-hours sessions, your Automated External Defibrillator certificate and sick leave documentation.
  • Set a timetable at the start of each six month job to complete your CBDs, COTs, MSF, PSQ and DOPS.

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