The perceived strengths and weaknesses of the General Practice training e-portfolio: A case study exploration of General Practitioner (GP) trainers’ perspectives

Jane Elliot, Debbie Reed

Abstract


Background :  General Practitioner (GP) trainers[1] spend considerable time completing their trainees’ e-portfolios, yet there is a paucity of research into their views This study aimed to illuminate their perspectives  and propose modifications. Additionally, a recent law-suit has highlighted tensions over written reflections in training e-portfolios being used in a court of law and this paper contributes to the conversation

Methods: Case study methodology was adopted. A survey permitted purposeful selection of six GP trainers for interview and informed the interview schedule. Semi-structured interviews provided the data and thematic analysis was employed for data analysis. Credibility indicators included member-checking and cross-checking.

 Results:  Strengths and weaknesses of the e-portfolio were identified. Strengths lay in the ability to demonstrate accountability for a rigorous educational process, and intrinsic educational aspects of the e-portfolio. Weaknesses lay in the time spent by GP trainers in documentation, perceived by them as excessive, and the threats to credibility conferred both by burdensome documentation and the requirement for written reflection on clinical errors. 

Conclusions and Recommendations: There is a risk of GP trainers endangering their work-life balance and clinical performance by the time spent on the e-portfolio. Participants proposed reducing documentation with fewer competencies and log-entries. They suggested that written reflection on clinical imperfections should not be expected, whilst learning from researching knowledge gaps should, and that they, as GP trainers, should be more involved in e-portfolio evolution.


[1]  GP trainers are GPs who have undergone extra training in education, often involving obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.


Keywords


General Practitioner (GP), GP training, medical-education, e-portfolio

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