Interprofessional assessment of medical students' competences with an instrument suitable for physicians and nurses

Sarah Prediger, Sophie Fürstenberg, Pascal O Berberat, Martina Kadmon, Sigrid Harendza
BMC Medical Education 2019 February 6, 19 (1): 46

BACKGROUND: Physicians need a set of specific competences to perform well in interprofessional teams in their first year of residency. These competences should be achieved with graduation from medical school. Assessments during undergraduate medical studies are mostly rated by supervisors only. The aim of our study was to compare the rating of core facets of competence of medical students late in their undergraduate training as well as the rating confidence between three different groups of assessors (supervisors, residents, and nurses) in an assessment simulating the first day of residency.

METHODS: Sixty-seven advanced medical students from three different medical schools (Hamburg, Oldenburg and Munich) participated in a 360-degree assessment simulating the first working day of a resident. Each participant was rated by three assessors - a supervisor, a resident and a nurse - in seven facets of competence relevant for the first year of residency: (1) responsibility, (2) teamwork and collegiality, (3) knowing and maintaining own personal bounds and possibilities, (4) structure, work planning and priorities, (5) coping with mistakes, (6) scientifically and empirically grounded method of working, and (7) verbal communication with colleagues and supervisors. Means of all assessed competences and confidences of judgement of the three rating groups were compared. Additionally, correlations between assessed competences and confidence of judgement within each group of raters were computed.

RESULTS: All rating groups showed consistent assessment decisions (Cronbach's α: supervisors = .90, residents = .80, nurses = .78). Nurses assessed the participants significantly higher in all competences compared to supervisors and residents (all p ≤ .05) with moderate and high effect sizes (d = .667-1.068). While supervisors' and residents' ratings were highest for "teamwork and collegiality", participants received the highest rating by nurses for "responsibility". Competences assessed by nurses were strongly positively correlated with their confidence of judgment while supervisors' assessments correlated only moderately with their confidence of judgment in two competences.

CONCLUSIONS: Different professional perspectives provide differentiated competence ratings for medical students in the role of a beginning resident. Rating confidence should be enhanced by empirically derived behavior checklists with anchors, which need to be included in rater training to decrease raters' subjectivity.

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