Book Book

Appraisal for the Apprehensive: A Guide for Doctors

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:664
  1. Ignasi Agell, specialist registrar in liaison psychiatry (iggy{at}
  1. Leeds Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust

    Ruth Chambers, Gill Wakley, Steve Field, Simon Ellis

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    Radcliffe Medical Press, £24.95, pp 209

    ISBN 185775 982 6

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    As part of their preparation to become consultants, specialist registrars should explore what that role will demand beyond clinical practice. This can be one of the objectives of regular supervision. I recently discussed the appraisal process with my current supervisor. This was informative but also left me with several questions. A quick glance in the library to expand my knowledge proved unsuccessful until I found this book.

    As the authors state, appraisal and revalidation are here to stay. The aim of this book, therefore, is not to explore the political arguments for and against appraisal or revalidation, but to gain a greater understanding of the processes in order to be able to approach appraisal in a positive and constructive way. Does it succeed? My answer is definitely yes. And one of the reasons is that the authors share not only a medical background but also an educationist one.

    This book will enthuse everybody, whatever his or her learning style is. It will satisfy those who look for information, those who look for a model to copy, and those who look for ideas. It will also satisfy those who enjoy thinking about uncertainties, because there are many regarding appraisal, and the authors are sincere enough not to dismiss them.

    The authors guide the reader from preparation for appraisal (itself an appraisable process) to results of appraisal. They present a “learning cycle” for appraisal and then run the cycle for the seven main headings set out in the General Medical Council guidance Good Medical Practice. The final chapter focuses on revalidation, aiming to design a logical plan for it through successful appraisals.

    Recognising that many people see appraisal as a dry subject, the authors have sought to inject some humour by creating fictional characters to illustrate their examples. My favourite of these is Dr Hippie, a saxophone playing general practitioner.