Background Specialty trainees are expected to achieve multiple skills during training in preparation for a consultant role. However, evidence from many other specialties suggests that new consultants are less prepared in non-clinical skills.
Aim To identify if new UK palliative medicine consultants, within five years of their appointment, feel prepared in clinical and non-clinical skills after completing specialty training and the support available during the transition from trainee to consultant.
Method An online survey, using previous literature, pilot tested on multi-specialty consultants to test functionality. A five-point Likert scale to record various aspects of preparedness was used. The survey was distributed via the Association for Palliative Medicine email and social media. Ethics approval was obtained.
Results Forty-eight consultants completed the survey; 80% were female. 40% were in a consultant post for 1 year, 50% worked across multiple settings, 46% worked as a specialty doctor before training. The majority felt very or extremely prepared in clinical skills (71%), audit (84%), interaction with other colleagues (70%), time management (64%) and self-management (64%). 50% felt moderately prepared in Human Resources, 68% in organisation structure and 52% in leadership. The majority (70%) were not at all or slightly prepared in financial management. 50% reported being moderately and 43% slightly or not at all prepared in complaint management. Attendance at management and leadership course (68%) and management meetings (55%) were most useful to gain management experience. The majority (75%) found departmental colleagues gave the most support in stressful situations but only 7% had a formal mentor.
Conclusion Palliative Medicine consultants may require support with the non-clinical aspects of their role, such as management of complaints, finances and mentorship. This is consistent with findings from other specialties. Future research should identify how trainees should be supported in these areas, especially with changes to speciality training; ‘Shape of training’.
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