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ATSMs introduction

Obstetrics and gynaecology is so diverse that it’s not possible to train all trainees to the same standard in all parts of the specialty, and to do so would lead to a cohort of consultants who lacked significant expertise in any area of practice.

Therefore, in the final 2 years of your training, you’ll begin to specialise by undertaking at least two Advanced Skills Training Modules (ATSMs) based on the areas on which you wish to focus in your consultant career.

ATSMs are competence based; you complete an ATSM by attaining all of the required competences.

Choice of ATSMs

The majority of new consultant posts in the next few years will be in obstetrics. Therefore, it’s important that the majority of trainees undertake as a minimum the advanced labour ward ATSM, particularly if you plan to be a combined obstetrician and gynaecologist or a consultant obstetrician.

Your combination of ATSMs should provide a coherent training strategy. During ST4/5, you should discuss your ATSM requirements within your deanery to enable local planning of educational programmes and workforce numbers.

If your chosen ATSM is oversubscribed, trainees will be selected competitively, for example via structured interviews.

Delivery of ATSM training

ATSMs are designed to be delivered within the normal working week at general district hospitals. You’ll attain many of the ATSM competencies during normal service commitments and only rarely will time need to be ring-fenced for completion of ATSMs. However, you’ll need to ensure you spend more time in the relevant clinical areas, such as the labour ward, operating theatre, colposcopy clinic, etc., to obtain training while providing a service.

ATSM training is delivered by ATSM Educational Supervisors, ATSM Preceptors and ATSM Directors.

ATSM Educational Supervisors

ATSM Educational Supervisors undertake the day-to-day, hands-on training of trainees in any aspect of the curriculum. For ATSMs, the ATSM  Educational Supervisor must have clinical skill in the area being taught.

ATSM Preceptors

ATSM Preceptors are responsible for the deanery-wide provision and quality control of their ATSM. They ensure the appropriate educational support is provided and assessments are performed. Where the ATSM requires course attendance, the ATSM Preceptor decides which courses are suitable, with reference to the relevant course syllabus.

ATSM Directors

ATSM Directors are responsible for all ATSMs within their deanery, including the standard and delivery of training. The ATSM Director coordinates trainee attachments to ensure all trainees fulfill their ATSM requirements. The ATSM Director acts as the link between the deanery and the RCOG and must sign all ATSM registration forms. For more information, please read the ATSM Director job description and see the list of ATSM Directors in the UK.

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