Aims Approximately 240 4th year medical students from Queen’s University Belfast rotate through paediatric units in N. Ireland each year. Paediatric Objective Structured Clinical Examinations revealed poor performance at prescribing paediatric medication despite attendance at an Interprofessional Pharmacy Workshop. The aim of this study is to assess perception of task performance, assess actual task performance and compare.
Methods An end of attachment assessment was carried out on 85 students. Students completed a ‘Paediatric Skills Survey’ form, indicating on a 5 point likert scale their perceived competency at 16 various tasks. Students were subsequently assessed on three reciprocal tasks, which included prescribing common paediatric medication, prescribing paediatric intravenous maintenance fluids and plotting growth parameters on an appropriate centile chart. Tasks were marked based on pre-defined criteria and results were subsequently analysed in comparison with perception.
Results Results for perception versus performance of skill performance is shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. Statistical analysis of perception in respect to actuality gave kappa values −0.010, −0.024 and 0.021 for medication prescription, growth chart plotting and intravenous fluid prescription respectively. All confidence intervals contained zero. Therefore, we are unable to regret the null hypothesis that there is no correlation between perception and performance. The Sign Test is highly significant in all 3 areas, with P < 0.001, which indicates clear bias in the direction of more optimistic expectations than reality.
Conclusion The assumption that students are able to indicate assurances in skill performance is disproven. Lack of correlation between perception and performance would put a greater emphasis on continued assessment of medical students and doctors in training.
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