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Amare, Equlinet Misganaw; Siebeck, Matthias; Yigzaw, Tegbar; Fischer, Martin R.; Tadesse, Mekdim; Berndt, Markus (2023): Differences in perceptions of capability, autonomy, and expectations between residents and surgical team members in executing EPAs in Ethiopian medical education. Heliyon, 9 (3): e14316. ISSN 24058440

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Background: Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are units of professional practice that are defined as tasks or responsibilities that are entrusted to an unsupervised execution by a trainee. In 2021, a framework of 29 EPAs was developed for surgical residency training programs in Ethiopia, with the goal of residents being able to perform independently by the time they graduate. However, studies show that surgical residents lack confidence and are unable to execute EPAs autonomously upon graduation, and concerns have been raised about graduate competencies in EPA execution. The goal of this research is to assess how surgical team members judge/ perceive residents’ performance in executing these EPAs autonomously at the time of graduation and how residents rate their own capability and autonomy in executing EPAs in order to systematically introduce and implement EPAs in Ethiopian medical education.
Methods: A survey was conducted in the Departments of Surgery at four residency training institutions in Ethiopia. All eligible surgical team members and final-year general surgery residents were invited to participate. Surgical team members were asked to rate the observed performance of a group of graduating surgical residents in each of the 29 EPAs, and residents were asked to rate their own capability in executing EPAs. The analysis focused on variations in performance ratings between surgical team members and residents, as well as across surgical team members. Results: A total of 125 surgical team members and 49 residents participated in this study. Resi- dents rate their competence in performing these EPAs higher than surgical team members, mean 4.2 (SD = 0.63) vs. 3.7 (SD = 0.9). A statistically significant difference in perceptions of capability, autonomy, and expectations in executing EPAs was observed between the two groups of study (p = 0.03, CI: 0.51–0.95), as well as within surgical team members (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Differences in perceptions of capability, autonomy, and expectations between residents and surgical team members, as well as within faculty members, were seen in executing EPAs. There were concerns about graduate surgical residents’ competence to execute EPAs autonomously at the time of graduation. Surgical team members perceived that a set of graduating surgical residents are not yet safe to perform these EPAs independently (without supervision) and still requires distant supervision.

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