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Do we need to overcome barriers to learning in the workplace for foundation trainees rotating in neurosurgery in order to improve training satisfaction?

Authors Phan P, Patel K, Bhavsar A, Acharya V

Received 9 September 2015

Accepted for publication 18 January 2016

Published 30 March 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 211—217


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Maria Olenick

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder

Pho NH Phan,1 Keyur Patel,2 Amar Bhavsar,3 Vikas Acharya4

1Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, 2Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Luton, 3Department of Neurosurgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, 4Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Coventry, UK

Abstract: Junior doctors go through a challenging transition upon qualification; this repeats every time they start a rotation in a new department. Foundation level doctors (first 2 years postqualification) in neurosurgery are often new to the specialty and face various challenges that may result in significant workplace dissatisfaction. The neurosurgical environment is a clinically demanding area with a high volume of unwell patients and frequent emergencies – this poses various barriers to learning in the workplace for junior doctors. We identify a number of key barriers and review ideas that can be trialed in the department to overcome them. Through an evaluation of current suggestions in the literature, we propose that learning opportunities need to be made explicit to junior doctors in order to encourage them to participate as a member of the team. We consider ideas for adjustments to the induction program and the postgraduate medical curriculum to shift the focus from medical knowledge to improving confidence and clinical skills in newly qualified doctors. Despite being a powerful window for opportunistic learning, the daily ward round is unfortunately not maximized and needs to be more learner focused while maintaining efficiency and time consumption. Finally, we put forward the idea of an open forum where trainees can talk about their learning experiences, identify subjective barriers, and suggest solutions to senior doctors. This would be achieved through departmental faculty development. These interventions are presented within the context of the neurosurgical ward; however, they are transferable and can be adapted in other specialties and departments.

Keywords: medical education, foundation program, junior doctors, induction program, neurosurgery, learning in the workplace

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