Information for RCOG trainers preparing for induction and appraisal meetings.
You may also find it useful to read the information for trainees about induction and appraisal.
Purpose and timing
Appraisal is an important component of effective adult learning. The process collates past achievement and plans future progress. Appraisals are mandatory but flexible, structured yet informal, challenging yet an opportunity to provide support. It isn’t a formal assessment, so you should deal with health and serious conduct issues outside of the appraisal in specific meetings.
The induction appraisal interview should be completed within 2 weeks of a trainee starting a new post. The College Tutor should assign an Educational Supervisor to the trainee, and the Educational Supervisor will complete the induction. At the induction, the trainee and Educational Supervisor should review progress to date and set objectives for the next year of training. This should include a review of the objectives set at the previous Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).
The process should be repeated in the middle and at the end of each training attachment to ensure continuing reflection on progress.
The induction/appraisal interview
Trainees must ensure they keep their ePortfolio up to date and use it with the curriculum to inform the next phase of learning.
As a trainer, you should think about the requirements of training, as set out in the training matrix, and be prepared to evaluate success explicitly and discuss tough issues thoroughly. You must always accentuate the positive comments and have a critical yet constructive approach for progression.
Induction and appraisal meetings are confidential but not legally privileged and anything that raises safety issues for patients or trainees can be disclosed. You should feel free to discuss obstacles to progress and should show interest in emotional development.
Documentation is important, but don’t let this get in the way of a good discussion. Set an agenda of points to cover, have a good dialogue, then complete the forms at the end. Create a checklist of individual targets with timelines to help future discussions.
Educational Supervisor report
The Educational Supervisor should complete a report for each trainee during their placement, including information acquired through appraisal, workplace-based assessments, achievement of curriculum objectives, TO2s, etc. The report should summarise progress through the year and identify any problems.
The report must be submitted to the ARCP panel as it is part of the evidence that informs the ARCP process.
Managing difficult appraisals
People practise medicine in many ways, in terms of their choice of management plan, how they carry out a procedure or how they communicate with a patient. Remember that working as part of a team means respecting different individuals’ professional manner, which includes respecting clinical trainers for the advice they give.
Use the following tips to manage a difficult appraisal:
- Problem areas need exact definition, not generalisation. Collect objective evidence. Use description, not judgement.
- Discuss performance, not personality.
- Listen and ask questions. Keep it friendly.
- Identify and reinforce strengths. Be positive. Praise and encourage.
- Collaborate on constructive solutions.
- Set SMART objectives: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.
- Identify carrots and sticks to help ensure objectives are achieved.
- Keep a close eye on future progress.
- Don’t capitulate on your bottom line.
If you have any questions, or need more information, please see the list of contacts in the education and training team at the RCOG, or the A–Z of all useful contacts at the College.