Improving the quality of clinical training in the workplace: implementing formative assessment visits

Robert Mash, Zelra Malan, Julia Blitz, Jill Edwards
South African Family Practice | Vol 61, No 6 : November/December| a5070 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v61i6.5070 | © 2019 Robert Mash, Zelra Malan, Julia Blitz, Jill Edwards | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 2019 | Published: 09 December 2019

About the author(s)

Robert Mash, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Zelra Malan, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Julia Blitz, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Jill Edwards, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Family physicians have a key role to play in strengthening district health services in South Africa. There are a number of barriers to the supply of these specialists in family medicine, one of which is the quality of workplace-based training and low pass rate in the national exit examination. The South African Academy of Family Physicians in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners has adopted a short course to train clinical trainers and a process of formative assessment visits (FAVs) for clinical trainers in the workplace. Training programmes have struggled to implement the FAVs and this article reports on the experience at Stellenbosch University and the issues identified. Clinical trainers who participated in FAVs mostly set developmental goals for themselves that focused on improving the learning environment and consolidating personal skills in training and assessment. The FAVs were beneficial for the family physician trainers, their managers and the academic family physicians at the university. The tools and process for conducting the FAVs may be of value to other programmes.


family medicine; formative assessment; medical education; primary care; quality assurance; workplace-based assessment; workplace-based training


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