The skills framework lists 9 main professional activities: history-taking, clinical examination, differential diagnosis, complementary examinations, technical procedures, emergency situations, prescribing, documentation and quality, care safety. Through various clinical internships, medical students must acquire autonomy in each of these activities.
The GPS portfolio enables students to document the activities they carry out during their clinical placements. In this way, they can keep track of their experiences and draw parallels between the skills they are expected to acquire and the skills they have or have not acquired, by carrying out a self-assessment of these skills. GPS supports the learning process by allowing them to note their progress, achievements and weaknesses in relation to the clinical skills expected at the end of medical studies.
GPS is a personal space for students, but it is also an assessment tool for teachers. In fact, some of the documented activities are evaluated by the clinicians in charge of internships. When students arrive in a department for an internship, they can consult the list of activities to be carried out on their GPS. Many of these have to be documented, and some are marked as "to be evaluated". When the student is ready, he or she accesses the documented activity and submits it to the supervising clinician for validation. The clinician assesses the student's autonomy in the activities of a given clinical situation. The clinician also has the opportunity to specify the student's strengths and areas for improvement, in order to encourage reflexivity and provide formative feedback.
The GPS remains a confidential tool. Students themselves give access to certain parts of the system to those responsible for their training, in order to validate activities, receive feedback or certify attendance. As access is granted on a restricted basis, an internship supervisor will not have access to data concerning other internships carried out by the student, for example. There is also an area which belongs to the student alone, for personal notes or exam results, and which is not accessible to any third party.
The electronic portfolio also plays an essential role in the validation of internships in the fourth and fifth years of medical school. The portfolio defines a series of activities to be documented during the master's program. These activities must be documented a certain number of times and/or evaluated by the internship supervisors. The internship supervisor sees a summary of everything that has been documented and evaluated, and decides whether or not to validate the internship on the basis of a table summarizing the student's autonomy.
Validation of the internship enables the student to sit the exam in each discipline. At the end of their studies, students retain access to the GPS, but cannot add new data. When applying for a job at the HUG, for example, students are often asked to submit an evaluation of their internships.