I recently sat, as an Educational Supervisor representative, on the panel assessing those due to progress from ST2 to ST3. A few points arose that may be worth sharing with all Educational Supervisors. I hope they are some use.

  • All trainees who were moving years were interviewed as well as having their e-portfolios vetted (this is now only a random 10%, high flyers and any trainees who are under performing). Therefore, GPSTs must make every effort to sell themselves as committed and reflective learners through their e-portfolio.
  • The RCGP are clear that the mini-Cexs, CBDs and Clinical supervisor reports are simply pre-requisites to be allowed to proceed to the next stage of training. A GPST simply may not proceed without them. However, the RCGP also insist that they need a well filled learning log and a well filled PDP, which demonstrate evidence of learning and progress, together with evidence of reflective practice. [It was hard to pin the RCGP representative down on the number of entries needed, but a minimum of one reflective log entry per week seemed about right.] In particular if a GPST states that they intend to learn something, it is important to later update the PDP / learning log to show that they HAVE learned it.
  • Please let the GPSTs you supervise know that they should normally SHARE their learning log entries. If they don’t, then the review panel cannot see them and will assume they have made no entries. Only the very personal [or defamatory!] entries should remain unshared: the rest should be shared. [About half the candidates reviewed at this panel had not appreciated this; although they had made lots of learning log entries, none of the panel could see them.]
  • Similarly, there is an expectation that the educational supervisor will at least read the learning log entries and then mark them as read. The ES can also make any comments they wish to, although this is not necessary against all log entries. Importantly, they also need to validate each log entry against GP competencies, allowing the GPST to build up evidence of a range of competencies
  • When printing off assessments from the e-portfolio, one needs to use the “Print friendly version” of the page, which you can click into at the bottom of the page. Otherwise the words at the right of the page get cut off - which was a frustrating problem in trying to assess many candidates paperwork prior to the panel meeting.
  • One of the ST2s described the e-portfolio as “Like a Russian doll” with ever more unknown layers to find. Encourage the supervisees to play around with it and look at the FAQ section; only by doing so can they exploit its full potential - and sell themselves to full potential.
  • Consultants and experienced STs seem to do better mini-Cex and CBD assessments than do SASG doctors or inexperienced ST doctors. Encourage the GPSTs to get their assessments done by consultants. Most GPSTs have found it difficult to pin down consultants to do thorough assessments. The Deanery acknowledge that there is a need to gradually persuade the consultants to engage and to allow 30 minutes for a CBD or mini-Cex, rather than the 5 or 10 minutes that many record.
  • Be aware that ST1s and ST3s are expected to complete a multi-source feedback around now. Advice is in the FAQ section. Only the Educational Supervisor [NOT the trainer or clinical supervisor] can release the results electronically.
  • Finally, when you go into an ST’s summary on the e-portfolio, it still seems to show that no assessments have been completed. Only when you go into the Evidence section will you find exactly what assessments they have completed.

Jargon buster

ES = Educational supervisor
ST = Specialist Trainee
GPST = GP Specialist trainee
CBD = Case based discussion
Mini-Cex = Hospital equivalent of the Consultation observation tool
FAQ = Frequently asked questions
PDP = Personal Development Plan
SASG = Staff & Associate Specialist Grade