Assessing the application and quality of competency-based education in training programmes of veterinary specialists in Europe
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Background: Due to developments and modernisation in the medical field, the need for modernisation in medical education is needed as well. This has been the reason for the development of evidence- based medical education (CBME) and its corresponding competency frameworks. As of now, CBME is accepted and applied in many medical institutions across the globe. The Competency-Based Veterinary Education (CBVE) is one of those frameworks and was specifically developed for veterinary curricula. This framework consists of nine essential competency domains for the veterinary professional. The current study uses the CBVE framework to assess the current training programmes of veterinary specialists in Europe. To become a veterinary specialist in Europe, one must follow a training programme at one of the 27 colleges of the European board of specialisation (EBVS). The description of these training programmes can be found in the training programme descriptions or “training brochures” of each of these colleges. The way in which CBVE is applied in these specialist training programmes has not been studied until now. In this study, the current situation regarding competency training in veterinary specialist programmes will be analysed and we will evaluate how the competency domains are represented in these programmes. Goals of the study: In the current study, a document analysis and a pilot-study are performed. The goal of the document analysis was to evaluate which training tools were used within the different training programmes of EBVS colleges. The goals of the pilot-study were 1) To find out if and how the training tools, as mentioned in the training brochure, were applied within the actual programme of one of the colleges (ECEIM). 2) To find out to what extent these training tools contributed to the personal development of competencies of residents. 3) To find out if there was a difference in perception between diplomats and residents on how the competency-based education was represented in the programme. Methods: A mixed-method approach was utilised through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. First, a document analysis was carried out on the different training brochures of the different EBVS colleges to find out which training tools were used in the various residency programmes. Based on the results of this document analysis, a questionnaire was developed. This questionnaire functioned as a pilot-study and was only distributed among members of one of the 27 EBVS colleges: the European College of Equine Internal Medicine (ECEIM). Results: The results of the document analysis showed that diplomate supervision and hands-on clinical training were described in all programmes, and that workplace-based assessments were rarely used. The results of the pilot-study showed that the training brochure of the ECEIM was often in line with the actual programme in its practical setting. Some mandatory tools such as the review of the resident’ s performance, workshops and seminars, clinical teaching, and self-study, however, were not applied as frequent as described. Limitations: The document analysis was incomplete due to the fact that some colleges had no (suitable) documents available. Comparing the documents that were available was a challenge as they differed in the level of detail provided. For the pilot-study, no random sample was taken. Conclusions: Overall, we found that all competency domains, as described by the CBVE, were represented in the ECEIM residency programme. Especially the domains regarding individual animal care and clinical reasoning were well represented. Animal population care and public health were represented the least. We also found that the brochure was in line with the actual training programme for the most part.