Direct Observations of Practical Skills (DOPS) were designed to assess the practical skills of doctors in training, assessing routine tasks required for practice. This type of observed assessment has been widely recognised as a valid method of assessing practice in the workplace and has been adopted by training programmes for a range of healthcare professionals including programmes delivered by the School.
A DOPS assessment takes place while a trainee undertakes a practical activity in the workplace. An assessor observes the trainee undertaking the activity and makes a judgement on the trainee’s skills, behaviours and attitudes applied to the activity. The purpose of DOPS is therefore to assess trainees’ ability to perform routine practical tasks required for post-programme practice.
2.1.2 Observed Communication Events
Observed Communication Events (OCEs) were designed to assess the skills of doctors in training in routine clinical encounters. For doctors in training the focus of the assessment is on skills such as history taking, clinical examination, communication and patient management. This type of observed assessment has been widely recognised as a valid method of assessing practice in the workplace and has been adopted and contextualised by training programmes for a range of healthcare professionals, including programmes delivered by the School. (These contextualised assessments are known by a variety of names including the mini-CEX (clinical evaluation exercise), observed patient encounters, and observed clinical encounters/events.) The focus of Observed Communication Events (OCEs) for School programmes, is on trainees’ communication skills and their ability to interact with other people in the kind of routine exchanges required for post-programme practice.
An OCE assessment takes place while a trainee engages in an interaction with another person. An assessor observes the trainee’s interaction and makes a judgement on the trainees’ skills, behaviour and attitudes applied to the interaction. The purpose of an OCE is therefore to assess trainees’ ability to perform routine communication tasks required for post-programme practice.
2.1.3 The application of observed assessments to School programmes
Completion of observed assessments in the workplace through the phases of training, assesses trainees’ learning and development. Completion of observed assessments is documented in the trainee’s e-portfolio.
Observed assessments are required for all rotation and specialty modules and some core modules. The activities and numbers of observed assessments required for successful completion of each module are specified by the specialty curriculum. Trainees must pass the specified number of observed assessments to complete each module of the programme.
The observed assessment for a module, assesses the skills trainees have developed by completing the module’s training activities. Completion of observed assessments allows trainees to showcase the skills they have acquired from the module to an assessor in person.
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