An Exploration of Faculty Perspectives on the In-training Evaluation of Residents
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PURPOSE: The in-training evaluation report (ITER) is the most widely used approach to the evaluation of residents' clinical performance. Participants' attitudes toward the process may influence how they approach the task of resident evaluation. Whereas residents find ITERs most valuable when they perceive their supervisors to be engaged in the process, faculty attitudes have not yet been explored. The authors studied faculty supervisors' experiences and perceptions of the ITER process to gain insight into the factors that influence faculty engagement.
METHOD: Using a grounded theory approach, semistructured interviews were completed in 2008 with a purposive sample of 17 faculty involved in resident evaluation at one Canadian medical school. Constant comparative analysis for emergent themes was conducted.
RESULTS: Three major themes emerged: (1) Faculty engagement was apparent, with a widely held view that ITERs were a worthwhile endeavor. (2) Fragmentation of the evaluation system compromised evaluators' ability to produce meaningful ITERs. Fragmentation appeared to be a system problem, elements of which included time constraints, inconsistency in approach to ITE, and lack of continuity between educational assignments. (3) Faculty found the challenge of giving negative feedback daunting and struggled to avoid harming residents.
CONCLUSIONS: Faculty engagement in the ITER process may be compromised by both system and interpersonal challenges. These challenges may render ITERs less meaningful than faculty intend. Training programs must complement ITE with other tools to achieve robust systems of evaluation.