Milton Keynes General HospitalMilton Keynes General HospitalTreat your eportfolio as a pet for the duration of your training. To keep it healthy, you need to feed it regularly with log entries, not forgetting that it needs a well-balanced diet of varied curriculum coverage. You must also make sure that its PDP is well groomed. Invest time and affection and you will find that it has a lot to offer you in return but for those of you who neglect it, it has a nasty bite. An epotfolio is for the lifetime of your training and certainly not just for Christmas. 


Far-fetched metaphors aside, the eportfolio is used regularly throughout your training to record your progress. To pass this part of your assessment, you must have regular, reflective Learning Log entries, a current Personal Development Plan (PDP) as well as the right number of other assessments and reviews. Once you get in the habit of using the eportfolio regularly as a means of reflecting, it can be surprising how valuable it becomes.


The Eportfolio goes in for acronyms and jargon in a big way, so here's a Beginner's Guide to what the important bits are and what you need to do. There's also a lovely introduction to the Learning Log called Eportfolio Pearls (It's brilliant, so do read it!).


Learning Log

  • You need to complete a minimum of 5 log entries a week in ST1 and ST3 and 3 log entries a week in ST2.
  • This is a place for you to record and reflect on experiences that you have learned from.¬†
  • Writing a good Learning Log entry doesn't come easily straight away but it's important to get the hang of it as soon as possible. Make sure that you aren't just recounting events or repeating facts but¬†try to reflect more deeply on the experience and what you have learnt. Try to identify areas that are weaknesses for you and then¬†consider how you are going to tackle these.¬†When you are in hospital posts, try to remember that you are a GP trainee still and look for the relevance of what you encounter for primary care.
  • Try to write your entries as soon after the event as possible. Even if you only have time to create a one line entry, to be completed later, it will at least serve as a reminder for you.
  • Once you have created a learning log entry, you must "share" it, so that it can be read by your trainer (as well as the Programme Directors and ultimately the examiners). Sometimes your trainer will comment on what you have written.
  • The eportfolio is good and has improved a lot but occasionally it still freezes¬†or crashes. Make sure that you save what you write regularly, or better still write it all in a Word document first and then copy it across later. It can be so frustrating to lose what you've written.


PDP (Personal Development Plan)

  • This is a part of the eportfolio to help you organise your learning needs and plan how you intend to address them.
  • A view from Stony StratfordA view from Stony StratfordAs soon as your trainer has read your Learning Log entries, you can link¬†them to your PDP.
  • Try to show that you are completing "Cycles of Learning" ie ...
    1. Reflect on an experience
    2. Identify a learning need
    3. Work on that learning need
    4. Put what you have learnt into practice and test it
    5. Reflect on the difference what you learnt made
  • Try to make PDP entries SMART ie ...
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound


COT (Clinical Observation Tool)

  • You need to complete¬†at least 3 COTs in every 6 month post in General Practice.
  • This is a consultation that is observed by a GP and then discussed with you after to reflect on learning points. It can also be done with consultations that you have recorded on video. It is a very useful tool for improving your consultation skills, particularly as the Clinical Skills Assessment exam (CSA)¬†approaches.
  • Read what the RCGP says about COTs here.
  • See an example COT form here.
  • The COT marking criteria can be found here.
  • If you are doing COTs by recording consultations, you need to get the patient to complete a consent form. Your practice may have its own version but if not, use the RCGP's COT Consent Form. ¬†


CEX (Clinical Evaluation eXercise)

  • You need to complete at least 3 CEXs in every 6 month hospital post.
  • This is an observed patient interaction, similar to a COT, but one that happens in a hospital setting and is observed by a senior hospital doctor.
  • Read what the RCGP says about CEXs here.


CBD (Case-Based Discussion)

  • You need to complete at least 3 CBDs in every 6 month post.
  • This is a discussion with a GP or a senior hospital doctor about a specific case that you have encountered. You should present the case, reflect on it and discuss it. This is a learning opportunity for you but also a¬†chance for¬†the assessor¬†to gauge your understanding.¬†
  • Read what the RCGP says about CBDs here.
  • See an example CBD form here.
  • Look at the RCGP guidance on what should be covered in CBDs here. (This is useful for trainers too!)¬†


DOP (Directly Observed Procedure)

  • You need to complete all of the mandatory DOPs in ST3, irrespective if you have already done them earlier.
  • This is a practical procedure that you are observed doing. There are a list of these which need to be completed, although other procedures can also be included.¬†
  • Read what the RCGP says about DOPs here.


MSF (Multi-Source Feedback)

  • This is an opportunity for your colleagues to give you feedback, which can be very useful. Ideally you should include 5 clinicians and 5 non-clinicians in every MSF.¬†
  • Read the RCGP's useful summary of How to do an MSF.¬†


PSQ (Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire)

  • This is an opportunity for you to get feedback from your patients. It is something that needs some planning and is completely worthless if not done properly. You need to print out at least 50 copies of the PSQ form (available on your eportfolio). These then need to be given to every single patient you see, until a minimum of 40 have been completed and returned to reception.Newport Pagnell's Tickford Bridge, the oldest Iron Bridge still in constant use in the worldNewport Pagnell's Tickford Bridge, the oldest Iron Bridge still in constant use in the world¬†
  • It's important that you don't cherry-pick patients you think will be¬†flattering but make sure that every patient gets one. One way of doing this is getting the receptionists to hand out the forms as the patients book in.¬†It's also important that you don't enter the data yourself but get someone else at the practice to do it for you.
  • Read the RCGP's useful summary of How to do a PSQ.


CSR (Clinical Supervisor Review)

  • Your Clinical Supervisor is the consultant you work for in GP posts or the GP you are working for in Primary Care. You need to meet with them to discuss your progress towards the end of every 6 month post and they need to complete an online assessment of your progress in your eportfolio. This all needs to happen before your ESR.
  • Read what the RCGP says about the CSR here.
  • If you are starting a hospital post, then read the relevant curriculum headings and the KSS Deanery's Guidance and Self-assessment pages before you go to your CSR. Print it ¬†out, take it with you and it can provide a focus, as you discuss how you are going to learn as much as possible in the post.


ESR (Educational Supervisor Review)

  • Your Educational Supervisor is a GP Trainer who is allocated to you for the duration of your training. He or she will be a point of contact for you and they will keep an eye on your progress, offering suggestions, support and encouragement¬†when appropriate. The ESR is a compulsory meeting with them, where you can discuss your progress.
  • You need to arrange to meet with your¬†Educational Supervisor¬†before the end of every 6 month post, even when you are in hospital posts.
  • Prior to the¬†actual ESR meeting, you need to do some preparation. Once your supervisor has initiated the review on your eportfolio, you need to complete a self-rating assessment. This involves going through the self-rating question by questionand reflecting on your progress and giving evidence for what you say (ie specific examples from your learning log, PDP and other online assessments). This takes quite a while to do properly, so don't leave it until the evening before your ESR or you'll have a sleepless night!

A Woburn resident surveys his domain, just around the corner from Asplands Medical centreA Woburn resident surveys his domain, just around the corner from Asplands Medical centre