Emotional resilience to be part of medical training

DOCTORS will be expected to show they have developed “emotional resilience” before completing specialty training.

It is one of a number of “core professional values” identified by the General Medical Council as being “essential to delivering safe and effective patient care.”

The regulator has published a draft framework for consultation, setting out the knowledge, skills and behaviour it thinks all doctors should know about, and which should be made part of specialty training.

A number of new “generic professional capabilities” will be integrated into learning programmes with the aim of developing a doctor’s “professional identity and preparing them for practice”.

“The generic outcomes require the holistic development of the doctor as a professional and are not simply achieved by ticking boxes for individual tasks or competences,” the report added.

Royal colleges and faculties will be required to report to the GMC on trainee doctors’ performances for each outcome to ensure they meet the required standards.

The move to include emotional resilience in specialty training was first touted last year after research showed 28 doctors had committed suicide while under GMC investigation between 2005 and 2013.

Responding to the draft framework, former RCGP chair and medical director of the Practitioner Health Programme Professor Clare Gerada told Pulse: “Resilience is a difficult area to study, there’s no single definition, there is no systematic trial and there are no outcome measures.”

She added: “[S]omething else needs to change and I would say it’s the environment that they are working in.”

The core values set out in the draft framework fall largely in line with the GMC’s Good Medical Practice guidance. They include ensuring patient confidentiality, showing respect for others, and being able to learn and reflect on their professional practice. Others relate to practical and clinical abilities, as well as communication skills and basic principles of public health.

GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson said: “[I]t is vital that every senior doctor has the personal and professional insights and capabilities to deliver, lead and manage high quality care in complex teams, often in stressful environments or rapidly changing clinical circumstances.

“Patients rightly expect doctors to be good team players, have situational awareness and where necessary to provide effective leadership - they also expect their doctors to be professional, principled and expert communicators.

“By acknowledging, encouraging and embedding the development of these high level professional insights, skills and capabilities into medical training, there is an expectation that we can promote and enable a higher and more consistent level of care for patients.

“Clinical skills are absolutely vital – they are necessary but on their own not sufficient to guarantee excellent care for patients.”

The consultation runs until September 22 on the GMC website.

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