Continuing professional development (CPD) for anesthetists: A systematic review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In accordance with the focus on patient safety and quality in healthcare, continuing professional development (CPD) has received increasing levels of attention as a means to ensure physicians maintain their clinical competencies and are fit to practice. There is some evidence of a beneficial effect of CPD, though few studies have evaluated its effect within anesthesia. The primary aim of this systematic review was to establish which CPD activities anesthetists are engaged in and their effectiveness. The secondary aim was to explore which methods are employed to evaluate anesthetists' clinical performance.

METHODS: Databases searched: Medline, Embase and Web of Science, in May 2023. Additional papers were identified through searching the references of included studies. Eligible studies included anesthetists, either exclusively or combined with other healthcare professionals, who underwent a learning activity or assessment method as part of a formalized CPD program or a stand-alone activity. Non-English language studies, non-peer reviewed studies and studies published prior to 2000 were excluded. Eligible studies were quality assessed and narratively synthesized, with results presented as descriptive summaries.

RESULTS: A total of 2112 studies were identified, of which 63 were eligible for inclusion, encompassing more than 137,518 participants. Studies were primarily of quantitative design and medium quality. Forty-one studies reported outcomes of single learning activities, whilst 12 studies investigated different roles of assessment methods in CPD and ten studies evaluated CPD programs or combined CPD activities. A 36 of the 41 studies reported positive effects of single learning activities. Investigations of assessment methods revealed evidence of inadequate performance amongst anesthetists and a mixed effect of feedback. Positive attitudes and high levels of engagement were identified for CPD programs, with some evidence of a positive impact on patient/organizational outcomes.

DISCUSSION: Anesthetists are engaged in a variety of CPD activities, with evidence of high levels of satisfaction and a positive learning effect. However, the impact on clinical practice and patient outcomes remains unclear and the role of assessment is less well-defined. There is a need for further, high-quality studies, evaluating a broader range of outcomes, in order to identify which methods are most effective to train and assess specialists in anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Volume68
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)2-15
Number of pages14
ISSN0001-5172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Anesthetists
  • Clinical Competence
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Learning

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