Evaluation of the fellows’ progress toward competence as independently practicing neurologists is an extremely important component of fellowship training. Our program employs an array of evaluation methods:
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At the end of each rotation, supervising faculty complete electronic surveys via a website called MedHub. The evaluations include both narrative comments and quantitative assessments of the degree to which the faculty trust fellows to carry out certain key responsibilities in each rotation. These key responsibilities are called entrustable professional activities (EPAs). For example, an EPA is “Can the fellow’s diagnosis and render treatment recommendations for status epilepticus?”
Faculty grading of entrustment is then mapped to the various milestones based on the method published by the University of Washington’s internal medicine residency. For example, differentiating a true stroke from a mimic involves history-taking, neurological exam, knowledge of cerebrovascular disease, skill at imaging interpretation, etc.
Note that early in training, it is expected that fellows will need greater supervision and that the faculty will trust the fellows to function more independently over time as they demonstrate the skills necessary for independent practice.
Multi-Source (360⁰) Evaluations
Fellow professionalism and interpersonal and communication skills are evaluated via electronic survey by patients, other resident colleagues, medical students, and a wide variety of co-workers. This latter category includes nurses, therapists, social workers, case managers, neurodiagnostic technicians, and schedulers.
In preparation for the semi-annual review with the program director, each fellow is asked to complete a brief self-assessment survey. This is used to develop an individualized learning plan, help the fellow keep track of various requirements such as QI projects, and guide the subsequent discussion with the program director.
At mid-year and year-end, the fellowships program’s Clinical Competency Committee (CCC) will meet to evaluate the fellow’s performance across the various core competencies and milestones; see the CCC description above. In these meetings, the CCC will recommend one of the following actions:
- No action (for mid-year fellows in good standing)
- Promotion (or graduation from the program)
- Promotion contingent upon remediation
- Remediation without promotion
Subsequent to the CCC meeting, the program director will meet with the fellow to discuss his or her progress individually. The fellow’s self-assessment will be reviewed, along with the various evaluations detailed above and the CCC’s report.
Final (Summative) Evaluation
In addition to the usual six-month evaluation for the final six months of training, an additional form is completed by the Program Director attesting that the fellow has “demonstrated sufficient competence to enter practice without direct supervision”.
All reports, evaluations, and correspondence will become part of the fellows permanent personnel file.
Fellow Evaluation of Program and Faculty
Feedback regarding the fellowship program and its faculty is derived from several sources. Each year, fellows complete via MedHub a survey regarding:
- The program. This includes an overall rating and ratings of the clinical, educational, and scholarly components of the program, as well as the facilities and the culture. Each question has a free text comment field as well.
- The rotations. Every rotation is listed, along with a comment field.
- The people. This includes an evaluation of the faculty as a whole, the program director and coordinator, and each attending physician. Again, there’s a comment field for each one.
In addition, as part of the Program Evaluation Committee’s Annual Program Evaluation, the fellow presents a report similar to the above survey, highlighting and expanding on whichever aspects he/she believes deserves the most attention.
Twice each year, each fellow will meet with the program director to discuss their progress through the program, career goals, and other fellow-specific matters. In addition, those meetings serve as another venue for fellows to provide confidential (in the sense that they don’t have to speak in front of their colleagues) feedback regarding the program.