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Watching the watchmen: an evaluation of educational supervision in a busy district general hospital

Introduction

Educational supervisors (ESs) play a critical role in the training of Foundation doctors. Many hospital trusts do not currently offer formal mechanisms to ensure the quality of supervision is at a high standard. Our Trust wanted to empower trainees to offer objective feedback on the quality of the supervisors.

Methods

We introduced a feedback form sent to all Foundation doctors at our Trust. The questionnaire was designed to identify whether ESs were meeting their responsibilities as defined by the Health Education England South West’s Severn Deanery. We collected data throughout the academic year 2017–2018 (Year 1) as a pilot, before rolling out the definitive questionnaire with minor modifications from 2018 to 2019 (Year 2).

Results

All respondents met with their supervisor within the first month of the placement and 90.7% of the trainees found it easy to meet with their supervisor. The Trust received generally very good feedback for all of its supervisors. Low numbers (4/120 trainees) reported supervisors not engaging with the exception reporting process.

Conclusion

Our Trust provides ESs of a high standard. The authors believe collecting feedback for ESs will achieve three things: 1) Drive up standards through increasing accountability of ESs receiving objective feedback. This will be of critical importance in the context of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic and the changes to our work it has necessitated. 2) Empower trainees to make informed decisions about where they wish to train and under which supervisors. 3) Facilitate revalidation and appraisal for supervisors by collecting data from trainees on the quality of their supervision.

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