Feature BMJ Group Awards

Excellence in healthcare education: top picks for 2011

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1728 (Published 22 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1728
  1. Christiane Rehwagen, editor, BMJ Masterclasses, international,
  2. Christine Ward, editor, BMJ Masterclasses, UK
  1. 1BMJ Learning, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  1. Correspondence to: C Rehwagen crehwagen{at}bmjgroup.com

It is often said that August is a bad time to be admitted to hospital because this is when junior doctors start work in the NHS. The first shortlisted candidate in the BMJ Group Award’s category for excellence in healthcare education acted on this by starting the “from scared to prepared course,” for new doctors in Bristol. The course was developed by Rebecca Aspinall, an anaesthetist and programme director for doctor training at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust with surgical registrar Natalie Blencowe, who recognised that mandatory training for junior doctors did not adequately prepare them for their new role.

The content is based on surveys of foundation year one (F1) doctors to find out what they wish they had been taught before starting and of medical students to find out what they are most apprehensive about. The five day course covers everything from effective handover to surviving the night shift, discharge summaries, and managing stress, with interactive teaching including group work, role play, and written tasks. The impressive outcome of this simple but important intervention was a measured reduction in the frequency and severity of clinical incidents in hospital after the introduction of the programme and also a substantial increase in the number of F1s who felt prepared at the end of their course compared with the national average. It has now become mandatory not only in Bristol, where it started, but also in the neighbouring South West Peninsula and Severn deaneries.

The award for excellence in healthcare education recognises a project that shows outstanding innovation in healthcare education and performance improvement. Against this background, we reviewed many excellent submissions, looking for projects that had measurable effects, that were evaluated, whose results were communicated successfully, and that were taken up by a wide group.

The second project shortlisted also provides a learning environment away from the patient to reduce error in real practice. The Simulation and Technology-enhanced Learning Initiative (STeLI) is a multimillion pound project to develop the workforce by London Deanery and NHS London. Their vision was to promote patient safety by building substantial educational capacity and simulation infrastructure across London. They have produced simulators of procedures so that clinicians can practice their technical skills safely, including foundation year skills and an inflatable, portable operating theatre environment. STeLI also runs simulation sessions in psychiatry, general practice, and pathology. STeLI has made a major commitment to evaluation and has set up several long term research and evaluation projects to assess the effect of simulation centres, learning through simulation, and novel performance assessment tools. Over 40 000 individual simulation based training activities have taken place across the 92 sites in the STeLI network—reflecting wide uptake and local engagement.

The third shortlisted project is a global one. The World Health Organization embarked on a project to assist the development of education on patient safety in healthcare and contribute towards safer care by developing and disseminating globally the WHO patient safety curriculum guide.

The guide, published in 2009, provides comprehensive information for implementing patient safety education in medical schools worldwide. It contains information for all levels of faculty staff and lays the foundation for capacity building in the essential principles and concepts of patient safety.

The guide has been widely distributed and was tested in 12 sites (medical schools and universities) in nine countries. The evaluation study shows that the guide is highly valued with a clear structure and excellent content. It also showed that faculty are open to incorporate patient safety topics into the existing curriculums; learners’ perception of their knowledge of patient safety issues was greatly increased after teaching the curriculum.

So we have our list, and now it’s down to the judges—Parveen Kumar, consultant physician and gastroenterologist at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry; Kenneth Calman, chancellor of the University of Glasgow; Pip Hardy and Tony Sumner, directors of Pilgrim Projects and last year’s winners in this category; and Edward Briffa, director of BMJ Learning—to choose a winner.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1728