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Exploring How the New Entrustable Professional Activity Assessment Tools Affect the Quality of Feedback Given to Medical Oncology Residents

Journal of Cancer Education
Anna Tomiak, Heather Braund, Rylan Egan, Nancy Dalgarno, Jeffrey Emack, Mary-Anne Reid, Nazik Hammad
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s13187-018-1456-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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The post-graduate medical programs at Queen’s University transitioned to a competency-based medical education framework on July 1, 2017. In advance of this transition, the Medical Oncology program participated in a pilot of six Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) focused workplace-based assessment (WBA) tools with faculty and residents. The purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed method study was to determine the extent to which these WBAs provided quality feedback for residents. The WBAs were introduced into daily clinical practice and, once completed, were collected by the research team. A resident focus group (n = 4) and faculty interviews (n = 5) were also conducted. Focus group and interview data were analyzed using an emergent thematic analysis. Data from the completed assessment tools were analyzed using both descriptive statistics and a literature-informed framework developed to assess the quality of feedback. Six main findings emerged: Verbal feedback is preferred over written; providing both written and verbal feedback is important; effective feedback was seen as timely, specific, and actionable; the process was conceptualized as coaching rather than high stakes; there were logistical concerns about the WBAs, and additional clarification about the WBA tools is needed. This study provides insight into faculty and resident perceptions of quality feedback and the potential for WBA tools to assist in providing effective feedback to residents as we shift to competency-based medical education in Canada. Our results suggest the need for additional faculty development around the use of the tools, and their intended role, and the elements of quality feedback.

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