Making prospective entrustment decisions: Knowing limits, seeking help and defaulting.
INTRODUCTION: Many studies focused on entrustment have not considered prospective entrustment decisions, where clinical competency and entrustment committees determine how much supervision trainees will require in the future for tasks occurring in not completely known contexts. The authors sought to explore factors that influence and determine prospective entrustment decisions made by members of such committees in graduate medical education (GME) and undergraduate medical education (UME). METHODS: The authors conducted a constructivist grounded theory study with 23 faculty participants from GME and UME clinical competency and entrustment committees in the United States between October 2020 and March 2021. Interviews sought to explore factors and considerations participants weigh in making prospective entrustment decisions about trainees. Data collection and analysis occurred in an iterative fashion, ensuring constant comparison. Theoretical sampling was used to confirm, disconfirm and elaborate on the evolving results. RESULTS: Trainees' ability to know limits and seek help is the foundation of participants' prospective entrustment decision making. Most participants, however, describe a presumption of trainee readiness to progress and describe commonly making default prospective entrustment decisions unless 'red flags' in performance are present. Although participants desire sufficient and trusted data about trainee performance to inform decisions, they often lack it. Finally, the perceived permanence and consequences of prospective entrustment decisions influence how participants weigh other factors contributing to prospective entrustment decisions. CONCLUSION: Trainees' ability to know limits and seek help appears to be the foundation of prospective entrustment decision making. Training programmes should strive to collect and employ robust data supporting and questioning the presence of these attributes.
Schumacher, DJ; Michelson, C; Winn, AS; Turner, DA; Elshoff, E; Kinnear, B
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