With the expansion of Competency Based Medical Education (CBME), there is increasing reliance on longitudinal assessments to document learner progress over time.

“Learner handover” has emerged as a useful method to address this longitudinal approach, with assessments shared across supervisors, rotations and educational phases to support learner growth and ease transitions.

A stellar lineup of current and former members of the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE) explored, “the opinions of, experiences with, and recommendations for successful implementation of learner handover among clinical supervisors” in a recent issue of Perspectives on Medical Education.

The research team included current Institute members Meredith YoungDeborah DanoffLaurie Plotnick, Beth-Ann CummingsCarlos Gomez-Garibello along with Valérie Dory, the project lead and a member of the McGill’s former Centre for Medical Education. Research Assistants Stephanie Mumchian and Nicole Pal were also co-authors of the piece.

Project at a glance

In this study, the research team documented views of clinical supervisors on the risks and benefits of learner handover. Supervisors mentioned that the main benefit of learner handover was the ability to tailor educational experiences to ensure competent practice, resulting in increased patient safety.

These benefits were balanced with potential risks, which centered on the potential bias in future assessments, limiting a learner’s educational opportunities and potential negative effects on a learners’ wellbeing.

Clinical educators also provided suggestions for how to implement learner handover in order to maximize benefits and limit risks to ensure safe educational contexts and the best possible patient care.

Research Assistants share their experience

Research Assistants Ms. Gumuchian and Ms. Pal gained valuable experience in research and publishing as co-authors of the article.

“The topic of learner handover is definitely a timely and important one and I hope that the work produced by our team will continue to not only enhance understanding of longitudinal assessment but lead to important practical changes in the way that we assess and train our future physicians,” says Stephanie Gumuchian, a research assistant for the project who completed an MSC in Psychiatry at McGill and is now a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Concordia University.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work on this project on the important topic of learner handover,” says Nicole Pal, who is currently completing a MSc in Global Health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. “Thanks to the kind and hard-working team, I’ve learned a great many new skills that I’ll take with me throughout my career as a health researcher.”

Read the full academic article here in Perspectives in Medical Education.

*Gumuchian ST, *Pal NE, Young ME, Danoff D, Plotnick LH, Cummings B-A, Gomez-Garibello G, Dory V. (2020). Learner Handover: Perspectives and recommendations from the front-line. Perspectives on Medical Education. E-print available. Doi: 10.1007/s40037-020-00601-4

February 24, 2021