To evaluate the effectiveness of field notes in assessing teachers’ confidence and perceived competence, and the effect of field notes on residents’ perceptions of their development of competence.
A faculty and resident survey completed 5 years after field notes were introduced into the program.
Five Dalhousie University family medicine sites—Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John in New Brunswick, and Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia.
First- and second-year family medicine residents (as of May 2009) and core family medicine faculty.
Main outcome measures
Residents’ outcome measures included beliefs about the effects of field notes on performance, learning, reflection, clinical skills development, and feedback received. Faculty outcome measures included beliefs about the effect of field notes on guiding feedback, teaching, and reflection on clinical practice.
Forty of 88 residents (45.5%) participated. Fifteen of 50 faculty (30.0%) participated, which only permitted a discussion of trends for faculty. Residents believed field note–directed feedback reinforced their performance (81.1%), helped them learn (67.6%), helped them reflect on practice and learning (66.7%), and focused the feedback they received, making it more useful (62.2%) (P < .001 for all); 63.3% believed field note–directed feedback helped with clinical skills development (P < .01). Faculty believed field notes helped to provide more focused (86.7%) and effective feedback (78.6%), improved teaching (75.0%), and encouraged reflection on their own clinical practice (73.3%).
Most surveyed residents believed field note use improved the feedback they received and helped them to develop competence through improved performance, learning, reflection, and clinical skills development. The trends from faculty information suggested faculty believed field notes were an effective teaching, feedback, and reflection tool.