Workplace-based assessments (WBAs) are on-the-job assessments of day-to-day performance of trainees. They are an important component of the higher specialist training programme in occupational medicine and integral to the curriculum and assessment framework.
Formal on-the-job assessments are useful in many ways. They have an important formative function, helping the trainee to:-
• chart their progress (areas of strength and developmental needs)
• document the acquisition of competencies
• receive regular feedback from experienced senior colleagues, and plan their educational objectives.
More generally, they assist reflection and development – regular constructive feedback should be an integral part of educational planning. They support and underpin the quality assurance of training, by confirming that developmental expectations are being met and they drive learning. Naturally, trainees put most effort into those things that are examined – WBAs ensure that this effort is directed at everyday performance rather than abstract knowledge.
Finally, WBAs are the main vehicle for assessing certain important competencies that are hard to measure in other ways (e.g. professional behaviour, probity, team working); and for identifying trainees in difficulty who need special support.
Ultimately they are needed to reassure the public that by the end of their training, the doctor is a rounded specialist, fit for purpose.
Although a number of these tools are in wide use in medicine and all have been piloted by the Faculty, experience of their use in occupational medicine is limited at present. We welcome feedback, both positive and negative, from trainers, trainees, and other interested parties to help improve these assessment methods and to extend their application. To submit feedback please contact the Examinations & Training Team. We plan to evaluate their acceptability to users as part of our quality management process.