Assessment Objectives

Competence has been defined as:

"the habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served." Epstein & Hundert, 2002 

Understanding The Sentinel Habits

The following documents provide further information for understanding the skills required for each of the Sentinel Habits. 

Professionalism   Clinical Reasoning Skills
Selectivity The Patient-Centred Approach
Procedure Skills Communication Skills


Priority Topics

The following document describes the 99 Priority Topics and key features that family physicians have identified as been relevant to Family Medicine.

Relationship Between Sentinel Habits, Skill Dimensions and CanMED Roles

We use Sentinel Habits to direct attention to the higher order skills, approaches, and attitudes essential to being a competent family physician. The Sentinel Habits are phrased in everyday language, yet map to the College of Family Physicians Essential Skill Dimensions of Family Medicine, and to the CanMEDS-FM roles. 

Sentinel Habit CanMED Roles

Incorporates the patient's experience and context into problem identification and management.
Skills Dimension(s): The Patient Centred Approach

Family Medicine Expert

Generates relevant hypotheses resulting in a safe and prioritized differential diagnosis.
Skills Dimension(s): Clinical Reasoning Skills Selectivity

Family Medicine Expert
Manages patients using available best practices.
Skills Dimension(s): Clinical Reasoning Skills  Selectivity
Family Medicine Expert

Selects and attends to the appropriate focus and priority in a situation.
Skills Dimension(s): Selectivity

Family Medicine Expert

Uses generic key features when performing a procedure (such as
knowing indications and contraindications, etc).
Skills Dimension(s): Procedural Skills

Family Medicine Expert

Demonstrates respect and/or responsibility to patients, colleagues and staff.
Skills Dimension(s): Professionalism

Health Advocate

Verbal or written communication is clear and timely.
Skills Dimension(s): Communication Skills

Helps others learn (teaches colleagues in a useful manner), promotes
effective practice quality (eg. EMR use, practice audits), seeks and responds appropriately to guidance and feedback.
Skills Dimension(s): All Skills Dimensions
All Roles
























Clinical Domains

Family Medicine encompasses care across a wide range of populations and contexts. We organize this diversity into Clinical Domains to help organize your thinking as you learn to be a competent family physician.