Intended for healthcare professionals


The BMJ Awards 2018: Education Team of the Year

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 09 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1519
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}

The shortlisted teams are finding innovative ways to meet the learning needs of doctors, as Nigel Hawkes reports

Bath tea trolley training

One afternoon in 2014, Fiona Kelly, consultant anaesthetist at Royal United Hospitals Bath, had completed a full and exhausting day but by 3 pm the last patient was asleep and stable on the operating table. “What I could do with now is a nice cup of tea in the anaesthetic room,” she thought. From this it was a small jump to the idea of “tea trolley training”—short bursts of training delivered by colleagues using visual aids carried on a tea trolley, provided when a quiet moment made it possible, and rewarded by a cup of tea—and even cake.

She began in her own specialty, airway rescue. “These are life saving skills which you have to carry out perfectly, but not very often,” she says. “We found that most staff lacked confidence in their ability, and in their knowledge of guidelines and protocols. We prepared laminated printouts of the important bits, added some visual aids, and started mini training sessions, five to ten minutes long, at people’s places of work.”

From there the idea has spiralled beyond anaesthesia to include sepsis and acute kidney injury. Training is done by colleagues on their non-clinical days and is very rewarding, she says. Skill decay is a well known problem in acute medicine, and regular practice is needed to prevent it. “This method brings multidisciplinary training to the staff in their usual workplace during the normal working day.”

Outcomes include greater confidence among those trained, and better adherence to best clinical practice. For example, screening of mothers for sepsis increased from 26% to 80% after training. The process is non-threatening, flexible, and trainees enjoy it. “Great fun!” said one; “CPD on the move,” said another. Ten …

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