The focus of this module is appraisal and the appraisal discussion. This module will cover some generic appraisal skills but it is important to be aware that appraisal is always carried out within a specific organisational context. As such it will be subject to that organisation's particular rules and requirements. In this module the example used is the UK General Medical Council's (GMC's) professional appraisal framework for doctors.
For doctors holding a UK licence to practise, appraisal is now a formal process based on the GMC appraisal framework for Good Medical Practice (GMC 2012a).
The drive for formal appraisals for doctors in the UK came from the introduction across the NHS of clinical governance outlined in the 1998 Department of Health consultation document A First Class Service - Quality in the New NHS and the subsequent consultation document Supporting Doctors, Protecting Patients (Department of Health, 1999), which set out a wide range of proposals to help prevent doctors developing problems, identifying appraisal at the heart of the proposals.
This module focuses on the general principles of appraisal, highlighting relevant aspects relating to how appraisal fits into improving patient care and supporting continuing professional development (CPD), as well as noting some of the specific tasks and activities relating to doctors’ appraisal. Doctors at all levels are appraised, including doctors in training, and appraisal skills are therefore fundamental to the process of educational supervision. In addition, from the end of 2012 licensed doctors will have to revalidate, usually every five years, by having regular appraisals based on the GMC's core guidance for doctors, Good Medical Practice (GMC 2012b).
In this module we begin by asking the questions ‘what is appraisal?’ and ‘what are the benefits?’ This leads on to discussion of the importance of preparation, how to structure and manage the appraisal meeting, and the key role of self-assessment. The module then looks at the fundamental skills required for successful appraisal, such as skilful questioning, active listening, and the art of effective praise and criticism. Finally, we consider the outcomes of appraisal, looking at work and personal development objectives and development planning. The emphasis throughout is on building and improving job performance and, through a two-way process of discussion, planning the continuing development of the individual and their work hand in hand. This module links closely with the e-learning modules Supervision, Setting learning objectives and How to give feedback.
By the end of the module you should have clarified your understanding of what appraisals are for, their multi-faceted benefits, and reviewed the combination of careful preparation, intelligent mindset and considered skills that help ensure appraisals are successful. You will be aware of sources of help and support around the appraisal process and will also have an opportunity to apply the learning from the module to your own practice through carrying out activities and reflecting on these.
Before you start
Before you start the module we recommend that you spend a few minutes thinking about the following points and noting down some of your thoughts. If you are registered on the site, you can do this in the ‘reflections area’. Click on the ‘my area’ link at the top of the page to access your personal pages. Please note that you must be logged in to do this. Please also note that you will need to contribute to the ‘reflections area’ during the course of the module in order to complete and print out your certificate.
· What have been your experiences of appraisal as either appraiser or appraisee?
· Have you had any formal education or training in carrying out appraisals and if so, what are some of the key principles you remember?
· What would you say was the main thing an appraiser should be trying to achieve when carrying out an appraisal?
· What are your main reasons for studying this module, i.e. what are your learning needs?
· What aspects of your teaching or management practice are you hoping to improve?
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