J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Oct 19. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06284-1. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Competency-based medical education (CBME) requires the development of workplace-based assessment tools that are grounded in authentic clinical work. Developing such tools, however, requires a deep understanding of the underlying facets of the competencies being assessed. Gaining this understanding remains challenging in contexts where performance is not readily visible to supervisors such as the senior medical resident (SMR) on-call role in internal medicine.
OBJECTIVE: This study draws on the perspectives of healthcare professionals with whom the SMR interacts with overnight to generate insights into the different components of on-call SMR practice and the range of ways SMRs effectively and less effectively enact these.
APPROACH: We used a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) approach to examine variation in how on-call SMRs carry out their role overnight.
PARTICIPANTS: Six medical students, five junior residents, five internal medicine attending physicians, five emergency physicians, and three emergency nurses conducted observations of their on-call interactions with SMRs. Participants were then interviewed and asked to elaborate on their observations as well as provide comparative reflections on the practices of past SMRs they worked with.
KEY RESULTS: Strong collaboration and organizational skills were identified as critical components to effectively being the on-call SMR. Perceived weaker SMRs, while potentially also having issues with clinical skills, stood out more when they could not effectively manage the realities of collaboration in a busy workplace.
CONCLUSION: What consistently differentiated a perceived effective SMR from a less effective SMR was someone who was equipped to manage the realities of interprofessional collaboration in a busy workplace. Our study invites medical educators to consider what residents, particularly those in more complex roles, need to receive feedback on to support their development as physicians. It is our intention that the findings be used to inform the ways programs approach teaching, assessment, and the provision of feedback.