Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal view

The ticking box travesty

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 13 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:155
  1. Neville Goodman, consultant anaesthetist (
  1. Bristol

    Ihave organised the teaching of anaesthetics to groups of medical students for more than 20 years. Not much about this is anaesthetics: they need to practise cannulation, learn about the airway, understand perioperative fluid balance, and know how to prescribe analgesia. We are lucky in Bristol; students are with us for three weeks, which allows for six sessions each week, one-to-one practical teaching in theatre, and plenty of small group tutorials.

    At one time, we had to grade each student on a scale of A-E for half a dozen criteria, including knowledge, practical skills, attendance, and so on. It was never easy because each student was taught by a number of different consultants during their attachment. I was much happier when the criteria and gradings were abandoned and the medical school simply wanted a brief statement that each student had completed their attachment satisfactorily.

    I refuse to destroy my or my students' probity by sending tripe to the medical school

    Such a sensible paper-free situation was unlikely to survive the …

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