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Factors that may improve paediatric workplace-based assessments: an exploratory study
  1. Kimberley Jefferies
  1. Centre for Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kimberley Jefferies, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK; jefferiesk{at}


Objectives To establish if paediatric trainees are satisfied with the current workplace-based assessment (WBA) process. To identify factors that contribute both positively and negatively to the educational experience during WBAs. To find out if trainees and their supervisors experience any challenges conducting WBAs. To establish potential ways to improve future assessments.

Design Qualitative semistructured interviews.

Setting Participants included fifteen trainees (ST1–8) in general paediatric and subspecialty posts and four consultants or equivalent across five hospital sites in the Thames Valley Deanery. All participants had regular exposure to WBAs.

Interventions Interviews were undertaken between June 2020 and January 2021 via video link. Data collection and analysis were conducted iteratively using constant comparison until theoretical sufficiency was achieved.

Main outcome measure Using Constructivist Grounded Theory, a theoretical framework, grounded in the data, was developed that depicted the core elements that should be present to optimise WBAs.

Results A number of key components were reported to affect the educational value of WBAs. A positive departmental culture towards education and training is essential. Chosen cases should be challenging, and direct observation or in-depth discussion, depending on the assessment type, is fundamental. Timely constructive feedback and immediate completion of the assessment form are also imperative.

Conclusion Some trainees experienced WBAs where these key components aligned, but many did not, and this negatively affected their learning. Three main challenges or future targets for further improvements include increasing time, improving training and optimising technology.

  • Health services research
  • Paediatrics
  • Qualitative research

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information. NA.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information. NA.

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  • Contributors As part of her Masters in Medical Education through the University of Dundee, KJ made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work. KJ was responsible for data collection, analysis and interpretation of data and drafted the paper. KJ acts as guarantor and accepts full responsibility for the finished work and the conduct of the study, had access to the data and controlled the decision to publish.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.