Portfolios: Possibilities for Addressing Emergency Medicine Resident Competencies


ast;**4301 West Markham Street, Slot 595, Little Rock, AR 72205-7199. Fax: 501-686-7053; e-mail: osullivanpatricias@uams.edu


Portfolios are an innovative approach to evaluate the competency of emergency medicine residents. Three key characteristics add to their attractiveness. First, portfolios draw from the resident's actual work. Second, they require self-reflection on the part of the resident. Third, they are inherently practice-based learning since residents must review and consider their practice in order to begin the portfolio. This paper illustrates five different applications of portfolios. First, portfolios are applied to evaluating specific competencies as part of the training of emergency physicians. While evaluating specific competencies, the portfolio captures aspects of the general competencies. Second, the article illustrates using portfolios as a way to address a specific residency review committee (RRC) requirement such as follow-ups. Third is a description of how portfolios can be used to evaluate resident conferences capturing the competency of practice-based learning and possibly other competencies such as medical knowledge and patient care. Fourth, the authors of the article designed a portfolio as a way to demonstrate clinical competence. Fifth, they elaborate as to how a continuous quality improvement project could be cast within the portfolio framework. They provide some guidance concerning issues to address when designing the portfolios. Portfolios are carefully structured and not haphazard collections of materials. Following criteria is important in maintaining the validity of the portfolio as well as contributing to reliability. The portfolios can enhance the relationship between faculty and residents since faculty will suggest cases, discuss anomalies, and interact with the residents around the portfolio. The authors believe that in general portfolios can cover many of the general competencies specified by the ACGME while still focusing on issues important to emergency medicine. The authors believe that portfolios provide an approach to evaluation commensurate with the self-evaluation skills they would like to develop in their residents.