Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) were developed to assess pediatric fellows. We previously showed that fellowship program directors (FPDs) may graduate fellows who still require supervision. How this compares with their expectations for entrustment of practicing subspecialists is unknown.
We surveyed US FPDs in 14 pediatric subspecialties through the Subspecialty Pediatrics Investigator Network between April and August 2017. For each of 7 common pediatric subspecialty EPAs, we compared the minimum level of supervision that FPDs required for graduation with the level they expected of subspecialists for safe and effective practice using the Friedman rank sum test and paired t test. We compared differences between subspecialties using linear regression.
We collected data from 660 FPDs (response rate 82%). For all EPAs, FPDs did not require fellows to reach the level of entrustment for graduation that they expected of subspecialists to practice (P < .001). FPDs expected the least amount of supervision for the EPAs consultation and handovers. Mean differences between supervision levels for graduation and practice were smaller for clinical EPAs (consultation, handovers, lead a team) when compared with nonclinical EPAs (quality improvement, management, lead the profession and scholarship; P = .001) and were similar across nearly all subspecialties.
Fellowship graduates may need continued development of clinical and nonclinical skills in their early practice period, underscoring a need for continued assessment and mentoring. Graduation readiness must be based on clear requirements, with alignment of FPD expectations and regulatory standards, to ensure quality care for patients.