The Senior Medical Resident's New Role in Assessment in Internal Medicine

James Rassos*, Shiphra Ginsburg, Renée E Stalmeijer, Lindsay J Melvin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: With the introduction of competency-based medical education (CBME), senior residents have taken on a new, formalized role of completing assessments of their junior colleagues. However, no prior studies have explored the role of near-peer assessment within the context of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) and CBME. This study explored internal medicine residents' perceptions of near-peer feedback and assessment in the context of EPAs.

METHOD: Semistructured interviews were conducted from September 2019 to March 2020 with 16 internal medicine residents (8 first-year residents and 8 second- and third-year residents) at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Interviews were conducted and coded iteratively within a constructivist grounded theory approach until sufficiency was reached.

RESULTS: Senior residents noted a tension in their dual roles of coach and assessor when completing EPAs. Senior residents managed the relationship with junior residents to not upset the learner and potentially harm the team dynamic, leading to the documentation of often inflated EPAs. Junior residents found senior residents to be credible providers of feedback; however, they were reticent to find senior residents credible as assessors.

CONCLUSIONS: Although EPAs have formalized moments of feedback, senior residents struggled to include constructive feedback comments, all while knowing the assessment decisions may inform the overall summative decision of their peer. As a result, EPA ratings were often inflated. The utility of having senior residents serve as assessors needs to be reexamined because there is concern that this new role has taken away the benefits of having a senior resident act solely as a coach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-717
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date7 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022



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