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A letter from Sussex Place, April 2014

Clare McKenzie, Vice President for Education, writes…

The World Congress in Hyderabad this year was a great success – the scientific programme covered all aspects of our specialty and generated a lot of healthy debate. The social programme was very enjoyable, with a mixture of the modern and the traditional. The enthusiasm of the 3500 delegates in attending and furthering their education was great to see. Delegates were left buzzing with new thoughts on management for patients.

Facilitating lifelong learning is part of the RCOG's key roles through a variety of educational activities. Reviewing where we are in our own development and planning how to improve our knowledge and skills is integral to our NHS appraisal process. I have been preparing for my own appraisal and revalidation, which has made me focus on what I need to achieve for the next year and how I can develop the service for patients in my unit. Central to this will be furthering my individual education and working with colleagues, both clinical and management, to achieve more as a team.

Within the education directorate of the RCOG, I have been focusing with other colleagues on a number of key pieces of work. Recognising that education is essential throughout our careers, as highlighted in Tomorrow’s Specialist, a working party, chaired by Ian Currie, has been established to look at educational support and development of trained staff. The Specialist Career Working Party aims to produce a report in the next few months. In conjunction with this initiative, we are looking at the possibility of developing structured training packages for consultants covering both clinical and non-clinical skills. The aim of both projects is to provide guidance and resources.

For all of us, it is important that we work in a conducive workplace which respects our skills and allows us to achieve the best possible care for our patients. In order to create a more positive work environment, the RCOG is working with the Royal College of Midwives to address the culture of undermining, which is regularly reported in the GMC National Trainee Survey. This week we are formally launching the establishment of our network of Workplace Behaviour Champions. Within the UK, Champions will primarily be a resource for trainees who wish to access independent advice regarding unacceptable behaviour they may be experiencing. Through this RCOG proactive approach, we hope to foster a healthy team working culture. Further information regarding the role of the Champions and all our work to date on improving workplace behaviours can be accessed here.

Finally, with spring in the air and longer evenings, it is time to look forwards and for me that means getting into the garden and tackling the weeds. Once my appraisal is completed, of course!

Clare McKenzie
Vice President, Education