Evaluating the perceptions of workplace-based assessments in surgical training: a systematic review (2022)

Type of publication:
Systematic Review

Mughal Z.; *Patel S.; Gupta K.K.; Metcalfe C.; Beech T.; Jennings C.

Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. (no pagination), 2022. Date of Publication: 14 Nov 2022. [epub ahead of print]

INTRODUCTION: Workplace-based assessments (WBAs) are intended to maximise learning opportunities in surgical training. There is speculation as to whether mandatory assessments in this form contribute to a tick-box culture. The objective of this review was to investigate surgical trainees' attitudes towards WBAs. METHOD(S): This systematic review of qualitative studies was performed in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement. The literature was searched on the Medline, Embase, PubMed and Web of Science databases on 22 March 2022. RESULT(S): Sixteen studies were included in the review, mostly carried out on users of the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme portfolio in the UK. Trainees felt that WBAs were educationally useful, providing opportunity for feedback, but this was overshadowed by a pressure to reach a set annual quota for WBAs and achieve high scores. Other themes included inaccurate recording of WBAs, the role of WBAs as formative or summative assessments, engagement and accessibility of trainers, and lack of time to complete WBAs. CONCLUSION(S): Negative perceptions about WBAs were widespread among surgical trainees despite a recognition of their capacity to facilitate learning. This review supports the recent removal of the annual quota for WBAs in UK surgical training programmes.

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