Overshadowed by Assessment: Understanding Trainee and Supervisor Perspectives on the Oral Case Presentation in Internal Medicine Workplace-Based Assessment

Lindsay Melvin*, James Rassos, Daniel Panisko, Erik Driessen, Kulamakan M. Kulasegaram, Ayelet Kuper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose The oral case presentation (OCP) is an essential part of daily clinical practice in internal medicine (IM) and a key competency in medical education. It is not known how supervisors and trainees perceive OCPs in workplace-based learning and assessment.

Method Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, 26 semistructured interviews were held with trainees and supervisors (18 clinical clerks and first- through third-year postgraduate trainees, and 8 supervisors) on the IM clinical teaching unit at the University of Toronto, 2015-2016. Interviews focused on how the OCP was viewed by both trainees and supervisors in clinical practice as a tool for patient care, learning, and assessment. Iterative, constant comparative techniques were used to analyze the interviews and develop a framework to understand trainee and supervisor perspectives.

Results Supervisors and trainees viewed the OCP as an important part of informal trainee assessment in IM. Supervisors used OCPs to understand the patient through trainee-demonstrated skills including the use of narratives, information synthesis, and management of uncertainty. However, because of awareness of assessment, trainees sought to control the OCP, viewing it as a performance demonstrating their competence, mediated by senior residents and tailored to supervisor preferences.

Conclusions Preoccupied with assessment around OCPs, trainees often lost sight of the valuable learning taking place. Use of OCPs in assessment necessitates optimization of the educational activity for trainees. Providing explicit direction to both trainees and supervisors, defining expectations, and clarifying the assessment activity of the OCP can optimize the encounter for best educational practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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