The national portfolio of learning for postgraduate family medicine training in South Africa : experiences of registrars and supervisors in clinical practice
Please cite as follows:
Jenkins, L., Mash, B. & Derese, A. 2013. The national portfolio of learning for postgraduate family medicine training in South Africa: experiences of registrars and supervisors in clinical practice. BMC Medical Education, 13(1):149, doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-149.
The original publication is available at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/13/149
Background: In South Africa the submission of a portfolio of learning has become a national requirement for assessment of family medicine training. A national portfolio has been developed, validated and implemented. The aim of this study was to explore registrars’ and supervisors’ experience regarding the portfolio’s educational impact, acceptability, and perceived usefulness for assessment of competence. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 purposively selected registrars and supervisors from all eight South African training programmes. Results: The portfolio primarily had an educational impact through making explicit the expectations of registrars and supervisors in the workplace. This impact was tempered by a lack of engagement in the process by registrars and supervisors who also lacked essential skills in reflection, feedback and assessment. The acceptability of the portfolio was limited by service delivery demands, incongruence between the clinical context and educational requirements, design of the logbook and easy availability of the associated tools. The use of the portfolio for formative assessment was strongly supported and appreciated, but was not always happening and in some cases registrars had even organised peer assessment. Respondents were unclear as to how the portfolio would be used for summative assessment. Conclusions: The learning portfolio had a significant educational impact in shaping work-place based supervision and training and providing formative assessment. Its acceptability and usefulness as a learning tool should increase over time as supervisors and registrars become more competent in its use. There is a need to clarify how it will be used in summative assessment.