Background: An effective tool in analysing the learning environment, customised to the Sri Lankan setting, is vital for the assessment and delivery of quality healthcare training of preregistration house officers. Such a tool should be reliable and valid. We assessed psychometric properties such as internal reliability and construct validity of a modified version of the Postgraduate Hospital Educational Environment Measure (PHEEM).Materials and Methods: A modified PHEEM questionnaire customised to the Sri Lankan context was developed in accordance to the Sri Lanka Medical Council guidelines. The questionnaire was distributed to all interns at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo North Teaching Hospital and Wathupitiwala Base Hospital during a calendar year (n = 100, response rate = 86%). Internal reliability and construct validity of the inventory were assessed by using Cronbach’s alpha and exploratory factor analysis respectively as statistical methods. Results: PHEEM consists of 3 subscales: perceptions of autonomy, social support and teaching, which are factors perceived to be influencing the educational environment. This administration demonstrated high internal reliability as reflected by a Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.84. Exploratory factor analysis identified 12 factors with eigenvalue >1. However, the first factor had an eigenvalue of 6.7 (accounting for 19.7% of variance), while the rest had eigenvalues < 2.5. These results suggest a single predictive factor and thus a one-dimensional scale as opposed to the three-dimensional scale which is used in the current questionnaire. Conclusions: The psychometric properties of this tool reflect a high degree of internal reliability in assessing the educational environment of intern doctors in Sri Lanka. It is possible that the clinical educational environment is collectively represented as a single dimension. This may be due to the complex interplay between individual items in the questionnaire. Therefore the psychometric properties do not justify the interpretation of the educational environment through specified subscales.
In Sri Lanka, after a 5-year medical undergraduate curriculum, graduates from the medical faculties undergo a one year mandatory internship or housemanship, 6 months each in 2 selected disciplines of clinical medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics & gynaecology and paediatric surgery in a recognised government hospital. After successful completion of this period of training, they are registered by the Sri Lanka Medical Council to practice as a medical professional.
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