MRCGP - Workplace-based assessments in the ePortfolio

Use your ePortfolio to stay up to date with the workplace-based assessments, says Dr Zohra Jafri.

Recording the outcomes of the various components of the workplace-based assessment (WPBA) is one of the main features of the ePortfolio.

Live observed consultations provide valuable feedback on the development of consultation skills

The ePortfolio can be used to verify what needs to be done for each of the six-monthly reviews, and to access any relevant information or related paperwork.

There is a lot to do for the WPBA. It is easy to become side-tracked by the learning log and tutorials and then with preparation for the exams, and overlook the WPBA.

I would advise registrars to be aware of the requirements for each review well in advance, plan ahead, organise surgery time and tutorials carefully, and regularly review progress.

Directly observed skills
The directly observed procedural skills (DOPS) consist of a range of mandatory and optional skills. The main difficulty is interrupting another clinician to come to observe a procedure and then enter feedback online.

I would advise being organised and getting through the mandatory DOPS as soon as possible. I emailed the clinicians a few weeks before my review to look for patients who may require the listed examinations.

The usefulness of the DOPS depends very much on the person who assesses the trainee.

Case-based discussion
Each of the different elements of the WPBA holds value in its own right.

I found the case-based discussions an extremely insightful and beneficial learning tool. They provided a good opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with my trainer.

Before each case-based discussion, I would prepare a page relating to each patient, detailing any problems that had arisen, what went well, and what I would do differently.

I found this gave me the opportunity to formulate my thoughts before the discussion, and provided my trainer with an idea of why I had chosen the case.

The process of recording the case-based discussion on the ePortfolio enabled a frank interaction and discussion between my trainer and I about strengths and weaknesses in the various areas. Most importantly, I felt I was given constructive and supportive advice about areas for improvement.

The structure of the feedback form highlighted which areas had not been covered by the case-based discussion, and hence provided pointers to what kinds of patients and related problems should be covered in future discussions.

Consultation observation
The consultation observation tools (COT) were another favourite of mine.

I used a mixture of patient consultation videos and live observed surgery consultations. It was interesting and insightful to watch the videos back with my trainer, and I was often surprised that my impression of the consultation at the time was different from that when I watched the video back.

I intentionally avoided picking what I thought had been 'good' consultations, as I felt that the COT was an opportunity to gain valuable feedback and advice for improvement and tackling challenging cases.

It was useful to use live consultations as well as video, as this enabled clear feedback on elements such as subtlety of body language, which may be missed on a video, and also allowed for immediate feedback.

Feedback
The multisource feedback and the patient satisfaction questionnaire were both of benefit, but the most useful were the comments on the multisource feedback.

Similar comments appeared on a number of occasions, and this has made me reflect on certain elements of my attitude and approach to particular situations.

ePortfolio
Under the WPBA heading on the ePortfolio, I would recommend clicking on the review preparation subheading. This lists the review of curriculum coverage, skills log (see box) and self-assessment against competency areas. It is useful to have all these visible on one page, as they all need to be completed prior to the supervisor's review.

  • Dr Jafri is a salaried GP in Chingford, Essex
  • This article was reviewed by Dr Anwar Khan, a GP partner and trainer in Chingford and associate director, London Deanery GP Department
  • This topic falls under section 3.6 of the GP curriculum 'Research and Academic Activity', www.healthcarerepublic.com/curriculum

Learning points

1. Plan well ahead for each component of the WPBA.

2. Try to keep the ePortfolio as up to date as possible, especially the learning log and your personal development plan.

3. Regularly review progress yourself and with your trainer.

4. Reflect on the feedback you are given, and use it to adapt your approach in consultations.

 

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