|Training the Trainers: Foundation Essentials|
|Friday, 01 March 2013|
The RCSEd has piloted a new course to give students and junior doctors teaching and learning skills for foundation level and beyond
Preston has always been a crossroads for history and innovation; it was the first town outside London to have gas lighting (1825) and a founding member of the football league (1888). More recently, it was the first venue south of the border for the College’s Training the Trainers (TTT) course in 2007 and has now become the first venue for the TTT: Foundation Essentials course, which piloted there in October 2012.
Foundation Essentials is a one-day programme that aims to equip foundation doctors and final year students (particularly those with an interest in surgery) with the skills they require as teachers and learners at foundation level and beyond.
The Edinburgh College has always been committed to the development of the skills of junior doctors with practical courses such as Key Skills in Surgery and Basic Surgical Skills. The same College team that conceived the affiliates programmes for students and foundation doctors also foresaw the need for a programme that equipped them with the skills to train others.
As far back as 2008 there were embryonic plans in place to develop such a course but, like many innovations, it took a spark – or in this case two sparks – to transform the idea into reality; The first was a conversation between David Pitts (College Senior Education Adviser) and Emma Barron, a general surgery trainee working at that time as an anatomy demonstrator in Edinburgh University. Emma could see the need for training skills, not only for herself as she came through foundation training, but also for medical students who needed to ‘learn how to learn’ in a clinical context during the early years of their training.
This spark was fanned into flame by Jeyaram Srinivasan, one of the College’s RSA team and an Associate Director of Medical Education in the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust. Srinivasan had been instrumental in bringing TTT to Preston and pursued the new project with similar enthusiasm. RCSEd President, Ian Ritchie gave his support to the project with the result that 14 foundation doctors gathered with David Pitts, Jeyaram Srinivasan and Ian Ritchie for the first programme on the 23 October 2012.
The participants were helped by the relaxed, entertaining methods characteristic of RCSEd’s TTT programme to understand how they and others learn, present information in a clear, structured way and how to pass on practical skills and coach others. In this course, the learning has a double edge; the participants are not only learning to teach but in doing so they are learning how to learn, and get the best from the foundation curriculum.
Designing a new course involves many conversations, much planning and (too many) hours spent at the computer creating session outlines, slides, handouts and worksheets. It is gratifying to have that work rewarded by an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception from the course participants in Preston. They described the event as “interesting, interactive, fun… very relevant knowledge and practical advice”.
One participant commented: “I learned how to teach and how to learn in a clinical setting, how to be structured and proactive … and there were tips on inspiring an audience and how to get the most out of my foundation training.” l
Senior Education Adviser
Consultant Plastic Surgeon, ADME,