The EPA-based Utrecht undergraduate clinical curriculum: Development and implementation

Olle ten Cate*, Lysanne Graafmans, Indra Posthumus, Lisanne Welink, Marijke van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: As reports of the application of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) increase, not only for postgraduate but also for undergraduate medical education, there is a need for descriptions of what a UME curriculum with EPAs could look like. We provide such a description based on the experiences at University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, which can be used as an example by other curriculum developers. Methods: In a three-year process, the UMC Utrecht Curriculum Committee developed a clinical workplace curriculum with an EPA structure, taking into account examples, such as the US Core EPAs for Entering Residency, and recommendations to integrate and increase the length of clerkships. Results: In the resulting curriculum, operational from 2016, students train to be trusted with indirect supervision before graduation in five broad EPAs: the clinical consultation; general medical procedures; informing, advising and guiding patients and families; communicating and collaborating with colleagues; and extraordinary patient care. Each of these integrates smaller (nested) EPAs that receive focused training attention in integrated clerkships at various moments and must be signed off for entrustment with indirect supervision to complete the clerkship. Discussion: The framework of EPAs went through many iterations before it was consolidated. Among the issues that required special attention was the application of a supervision levels scale for sign-off, the necessity to cover all relevant clinical content while not labeling too many small tasks each as a separate EPA, methods of EPA-focused assessment in the workplace and the creation of an e-portfolio model to serve assessment and entrustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018


  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Competency-Based Education
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical/organization & administration
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation


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