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Faculty Development

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Frequently asked questions

You will find below answers to a number of FAQs. 

What is the Professional Development Framework for Supervisors?
The Framework outlines requirements for the selection, training and review of named supervisors working in the area cover by Health Education North Central & East London, Health Education North West London and Health Education South London. 

Does it apply to me?
Yes – if you are named educational or named clinical supervisor.

Educational or clinical or supervisor – what’s the difference?
GMC (2012) defines a named educational supervisor as ‘a trainer who is selected and appropriately trained to be responsible for the overall supervision and management of a trainee’s trajectory of learning and educational progress during a placement and/ or series of placements. Every trainee must have a named educational supervisor. The educational supervisor’s role is to help the trainee to plan their training and achieve agreed learning outcomes. He or she is responsible for the educational agreement and for bringing together all relevant evidence to form a summative judgement at the end of the placement and/or series of placements.’

GMC (2012) defines a named clinical supervisor as ‘…a trainer who is responsible for overseeing a specified trainee’s clinical work for a placement in a clinical environment and is appropriately trained to do so. He or she will provide constructive feedback during that placement, and inform the decision about whether the trainee should progress to the next stage of their training at the end of that placement and/or series of placements’.

Some training schemes appoint an educational supervisor for each placement. The roles of clinical and educational supervisor may then be merged.

What training do I need to do?
All named clinical and educational supervisors should be able to demonstrate that they have been trained in all areas of the Professional Development Framework (see framework areas). Training once undertaken – with the exception of equality and diversity training – need not be repeated.

How much training do I have to do to satisfy each area of the Framework?
The Framework allows for flexibility and recognises that every training course will be different.  You should try and ensure that you have covered all of the topics listed in each area.

Do I need to be formally accredited?
Only if you are a named clinical or educational supervisor. All supervisors should be selected for the role and their name, contact details and training recorded on a database at the Trust. This is usually held at the postgraduate centre. If you are a named clinical or educational supervisor you will also be expected to participate in a three-yearly cycle of portfolio-based review.

By when do I need to do this?
As a named clinical or educational supervisor you will need to have registered for, or participated in a portfolio-based review as a part of a three yearly appraisal cycle. The aim of the review is to help you identify your learning needs and to further your on-going professional development as an educator. The ‘grandfather clause' or approval based on prior experience alone which was introduced in 2009, is therefore no longer available.

All new named educational or clinical supervisors are expected to have undertaken mandatory training in the areas described on page 17 of the 2012 edition of the framework before being selected for their role.

How does this fit with my job plan?
One of the purposes of the Framework is to bring some clarity to the job planning process. The Framework includes guidance for Trusts on the number of programmed activities expected for your educational role.

What should I do next?
Contact your local postgraduate centre to find out what training is available locally, and if you are a named clinical or educational supervisor, what accreditation arrangements are in place.

I work under KSS Deanery but have responsibility for some London trainees, what do I do?
The role of some supervisors extends across Deanery boundaries either because they are working in Trusts outside London supervising trainees on London programmes, or because they are based in London Trusts supervising trainees that ‘belong’ to other deaneries. In these cases, the rules of engagement are quite clear. Supervisors are expected to comply with the requirements of the Deanery with whom that Trust holds an educational contract. Normally this would mean that supervisors in London Trusts are subject to London regulations. A joint statement from London and KSS Deaneries detailing this arrangement for Kent, Surrey and Sussex and the South London Foundation programme can be downloaded here. Current arrangements will continue until further notice.

Why will supervisors not need to update their knowledge through training on a three-yearly basis?
The primary purpose of the Framework is that it is developmental.  We hope that supervisors will be encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills in the area of postgraduate medical education, not repeat courses.  Trusts are required to provide a rolling programme of faculty development activities to assist in this process.

How is Faculty Development going to ensure that all named clinical and educational supervisors are properly trained?
Trusts are required to maintain a database of supervisors and their training undertaken.  Trusts will be required to provide this information as part of the routine quality management processes of local education providers.  Ultimately the ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’ and a number of quality metrics are being developed including trainee outcomes.

Who should I meet with about my portfolio if I am not based in a Trust and do not have a Director of Medical Education?
Supervisors working outside Trusts e.g. in community settings, should contact their own Specialty School in order to determine what arrangements are being put in place.

Who should keep my portfolio after it has been signed off by the DME?
The portfolio is yours, although your DME (or nominated deputy) may wish to retain a copy of the sign off sheet - section H.


How do we implement this before trusts ‘buy into’ SPAs/PAs being allocated for this activity?
This is an ongoing process with pressure being exerted from all sides. In future, commissioning regimes will link financial remuneration with quality measures, which will include the need for well trained trainers.  In the meantime, and with reference to revalidation, it is worth remembering that all doctors involved in teaching have a professional obligation to ‘develop the skills and practices of a competent teacher’ (Good Medical Practice).

What if colleagues do not want to be named clinical or educational supervisors?
Inevitably there will be those who do not want to be involved in training if it is to be more formalised and accountable.  This is regrettable but in future we may see fewer trainees with not every department or trust providing training.

What is the business case for this initiative?
Quality is difficult to cost.  There is evidence that effective supervision is good for patient safety, improves the quality of their care and is better for trainees.  With this in mind and on the background of the dispersed training and reduced clinical contact time that has resulted from legislation such as the European Working Time Directive, do we have a choice?

What sanctions are there if training is not being carried out appropriately?
Trainees may occasionally be removed from specific trainers, departments or trusts.

ARCP (annual review of competence progression) panels are not identifying problems or areas of development early enough.  How can faculty development help tackle this problem?
By improving the quality of supervision and workplace-based assessment across the board and creating communities of interested and engaged trainers that communicate with each other and have a shared educational understanding of what is expected.