A Qualitative Study on How Entrustable Professional Activities Support Medical Students in Their Transitions across Clerkships

Anne E. Bremer
Cornelia R. M. G. Fluit
Larissa I. A. Ruczynski
Marjolein H. J. van de Pol
Petra Bot
Soort article
Original Research
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Introduction: Medical students regularly transition between clerkships. These transitions can lead to discontinuity in their development because of the need to adapt to a new environment. The use of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) might facilitate less disruptive transitions across clerkships, as they could provide support at the start of a clerkship. This study aims to shed light on how an EPA-based curriculum contributes to medical students’ learning processes during transitions.

Methods: The authors used a constructivist rapid ethnographic design. They conducted observations and interviews with 11 medical students in their Pediatrics clerkship; six of them were in clerkships not utilizing EPAs, and five were using EPAs. Data collection was followed by template analysis such that all data were coded with a template that was continually updated until the authors all agreed upon a definitive template.

Results: Four themes proved important when considering the impact of EPAs during transitions between clerkships: transitions as a learning opportunity, building relationships in context, taking leadership in the landscape of practice and feedback-seeking behavior.

Discussion: EPAs smooth clerkship transitions, as they establish continuity in the student’s development and facilitate navigating discontinuity in transitions. Students build skills and confidence in order to grow and work with increasing independence within the clerkships. Transitions offer important learning opportunities for students, which can be fully exploited by using EPA guidance.


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