|Towards official status for trainers|
|Wednesday, 29 February 2012|
New GMC proposals mean surgical trainers will need formal recognition and approval. The College's Faculty of Surgical Trainers is already anticipating these changes
Teaching and training future surgeons has always been a key element of a consultant surgeon’s job, but this role has often been implicit rather than explicit. Traditionally there has been no stipulation for any requirement of educational training or qualification in order to become a trainer.
Conversely, the training role has not had much in the way of formal recognition in job planning or resource allocation. This position is starting to change, and the College’s new Faculty of Surgical Trainers is anticipating these changes so that we can continue to support you as surgical trainers.
A major change is proposed in the recently launched GMC consultation document on trainers in medical education. This may have far-reaching implications for the future of surgical trainers. The GMC is proposing new powers to recognise and approve trainers within the field of postgraduate and undergraduate medical education, in the same way that they approve trainers in General Practice.
The GMC want these new proposals to apply to clinical and educational supervisors. The approval process will build on the existing standards for trainers, which are set out in the GMC document The Trainee Doctor. The essential theme of the GMC proposals is the linking of professional performance as a trainer with the seven domains that have already been identified by the Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) (see below). In order to be recognised and approved as a surgical trainer you will need to provide evidence of how you perform in these areas.
“We believe that training should continue to be delivered in a service environment with appropriate, graded consultant supervision”
While we all would welcome a system that provides public and professional reassurance about the standards of medical trainers we need to ensure that these proposals do not become a burden of bureaucracy. We know that there are a lot of creative, individual and innovative surgical trainers out there and these standards need to motivate and engagement you. These proposals should be able to enhance your performance as a trainer, and not be seen as a data-gathering exercise simply to remain compliant with another regulatory framework.
Hopefully though, the development of these proposals will help to protect and enhance the status and visibility of your training role. It should help to make more explicit the demands that the training role has on your time and resources. As a faculty, we are working to clarify that these proposals will detail more clearly how you will ensure dedicated time is set aside in your job plan for training.
The Faculty of Surgical Trainers is already working towards providing a system against which your achievement and progression as a surgical trainer can be recorded and benchmarked. This framework will provide the evidence that the GMC needs to approve you as a surgical trainer. As such, it will map to the AoME domains mentioned above, but we aim to provide surgically specific descriptors and supervisor behaviours that you can use to gather your evidence.
As a faculty, we believe that training should continue to be delivered in a service environment with appropriate, graded consultant supervision. We support efforts to preserve the high quality of surgical training, and to incentivise consultants to support trainees and continuity of training. As a college and a faculty, we will continue to support surgical trainers in this process of approving trainers. We shall develop straightforward methods of providing evidence in the future, in a way that is useful and builds on your existing duties as a trainer.
We will need your support in the future to enable us to carry out this role effectively. We will keep you up to date with future developments both with this consultation and with the development of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers. Come and join the Faculty at the web address below.
Domains identified by the Academy of Medical Educators:
Surgical Director, The Faculty of Surgical Trainers and Consultant Urological Surgeon at Forth Valley Royal Hospital