Aims DOPS (Direct Observation of Procedural skills) assessment was first introduced in UK medical training in 2007. A qualitative study aimed at finding out the views of paediatric trainees on DOPS was conducted in two hospitals in June 2012. The objectives were to identify the benefits of DOPS, practical difficulties encountered in the workplace and to gather useful ideas to improve the assessment.
Method Paediatric trainees at different levels of training (from ST1-ST8) working in two different hospitals were sent invitations by email to participate in the study. Participation was voluntary and data was collected using online questionnaires and focus groups.
Results 22/30 trainees completed electronic questionnaires. Only 7/22 trainees felt that DOPS improved performance in procedural skills. 17/22 trainees felt that DOPS did not improve confidence in procedural skills. Majority of trainees (16/22) felt that it was difficult to find seniors to supervise them during practical procedures. 13/22 trainees felt that the feedback they received was unhelpful. Only 6/22 trainees felt that DOPS was useful for trainees’ professional development.
Two focus groups were conducted consisting of 4 and 6 participants each. Trainees made the following suggestions to improve the assessment process:
Nominated clinical supervisor should take responsibility for supervision and feedback.
DOPS score ranging 1–6 does not add any value to assessment and should be omitted.
Skills log documentation is a useful way to demonstrate number of procedures performed.
Conclusion The study demonstrates that paediatric trainees were not fully satisfied with the previous format of DOPS and were looking for amendments to the assessment process. Timely feedback to trainees should be prioritised after practical procedures. In September 2013, RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) introduced many changes to DOPS and stressed that it is primarily an Assessment of progress (AoP) tool. A qualitative study on the new DOPS assessment form is needed to help identify strengths and weaknesses.