Introduction Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills (PACES) constitutes the final part of the mandatory Royal College of Physicians exam series for progression to higher specialty training. Pass rates were lower for core medical trainees (CMTs) in Coventry and Warwickshire in comparison to other regions within the West Midlands and nationally.
Objectives Our aim was to improve pass rates in the region through the introduction of a stimulating and supportive teaching framework, designed to enhance the quality and frequency of PACES teaching.
Methods To identify key areas for change a baseline questionnaire, including Likert Scale and free text questions related to PACES teaching, was distributed to all CMTs in the region. Many trainees highlighted concern over lack of PACES-orientated teaching and support, with particular emphasis on: lack of bedside-teaching with feedback; infrequent opportunities for practising communication skills; and difficulty identifying suitable patients in an efficient manner. To address these concerns the following interventions were implemented over two Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycles which were analysed at 6 months and 12months: a digital forum to highlight relevant inpatients for examination practice; a peer-to-peer mentoring scheme; a consultant-led bedside-teaching rota; and classroom-based communication skills sessions.
Results Pass rates at Annual Review of Competence Progression improved from baseline to the end of the first year of implementation, 56.3% to 77.3%, respectively. Furthermore, following analysis of questionnaires at each PDSA cycle, we demonstrated a progressive improvement in trainee satisfaction in exposure, quality and relevance of teaching.
Conclusion Our innovative, cost-effective teaching framework for PACES preparation has improved exam outcomes and facilitated swift junior doctor career progression, while raising the profile of the trust. Furthermore, this innovation provides a template for potential adoption in other National Health Service institutions.
- medical education
- team training
- quality improvement
- graduate medical education
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Contributors RJ and TR planned and led the quality improvement project and wrote the whole article together as co-first authors. NM supervised the project as a lead consultant and reviewed and edited the article.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.