Assessing readiness: the impact of an experiential learning entrustable professional activity-based residency preparatory course

Med Educ Online. 2024 Dec 31;29(1):2352217. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2024.2352217. Epub 2024 May 17.


As medical schools move to integrate the Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (EPAs) into curricula and address the transition from student to resident, residency preparatory courses have become more prevalent. The authors developed an experiential learning EPA-based capstone course for assessment to determine impact on learner self-assessed ratings of readiness for residency and acquisition of medical knowledge. All fourth-year students from the classes of 2018-2020 completed a required course in the spring for assessment of multiple EPAs, including managing core complaints, performing basic procedures, obtaining informed consent, and providing patient handoffs. Learners selected between three specialty-based parallel tracks - adult medicine, surgery, or pediatrics. Students completed a retrospective pre-post questionnaire to provide self-assessed ratings of residency preparedness and comfort in performing EPAs. Finally, the authors studied the impact of the course on knowledge acquisition by comparing student performance in the adult medicine track on multiple choice pre- and post-tests. Four hundred and eighty-one students were eligible for the study and 452 (94%) completed the questionnaire. For all three tracks, there was a statistically significant change in learner self-assessed ratings of preparedness for residency from pre- to post-course (moderately or very prepared: adult medicine 61.4% to 88.6% [p-value < 0.001]; surgery 56.8% to 81.1% [p-value < 0.001]; pediatrics 32.6% to 83.7% [p-value 0.02]). A similar change was noted in all tracks in learner self-assessed ratings of comfort from pre- to post-course for all studied EPAs. Of the 203 students who participated in the adult medicine track from 2019-2020, 200 (99%) completed both the pre- and post-test knowledge assessments. The mean performance improved from 65.0% to 77.5% (p-value < 0.001). An experiential capstone course for the assessment of EPAs can be effective to improve learner self-assessed ratings of readiness for residency training and acquisition of medical knowledge.

Keywords: Entrustable professional activities; informed consent; medical education; procedures; simulation; transition to residency.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self-Assessment
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires