"Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
– Ken Blanchard
The competency and consistency of the trainer and the trainee are defined in their respective roles. Thanks to the work of my predecessor, Craig McIlhenny, and David Pitts, past surgical educator of the College, the attributes of a good trainer are codified in seven frameworks that are the foundation of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers (FST).
These frameworks are graded and stipulate the criteria required of an effective and excellent trainer. They are matched to the GMC domains for an educator. Members and fellows of FST are thus recognised for their skills as trainers. The FST Executive believes the trainer tool on the ISCP website is fundamental to our vision of professionalising the surgical trainer.
It is this respect, the last domain of the FST framework, is poorly utilised. Gareth Griffiths, JSCHST and ISCP lead, shared with me the following data on the use of the ISCP website :
The online poll conducted during the FST Webinar on 18 August 2020 corroborated these findings. The predominant reason for this gap appears to be the fact the many people are unaware that this tool is available. The FST commends the ISCP Trainer tool to everyone interested in training. It is valuable, if not, fundamental to your recognition as a surgical trainer and your appraisal. We appreciate it may be perceived that it is yet another ‘tick box’ in an increasing burgeoning system of checks and counter checks. However, the FST is committed to simplifying the system and making it easier and more rewarding for the trainer.
We want to encourage you to use the ISCP Trainer tool. Therefore, we have included in the scoring of the membership applications, evidence of the use of the ISCP website tool.
Any observations that are not complementary or reinforcing should be specific and related to the role as defined and agreed in a job plan – this applies to the trainee and the trainer. The person – individual, identity, opinions, and values – must be respected and acknowledged. This does not mean that these subjects are taboo, but they are addressed through appreciative enquiry and a commitment of both the trainer and trainee to better themselves. The relationship is built on accountability and trust. Be you but believe in your trainee.
Trust should include CHARACTER and COMPASSION. Trust exemplified in character, is open and honest and true to their word – the key value prized among many is integrity. Does the individual walk the talk, and seek and respect other opinions? Do they listen in the present? Are they able to walk in other shoes and do they show empathy? Does character respect the person and can they demonstrate compassion and empathy? This relationship now becomes transformative; trust is no longer learned but it is generative. This demands of both the trainer and trainee as it becomes restorative and empowering. It requires effort and the commitment of both the trainer and trainee to self-develop. Happy trainers make for happy trainees and vice versa.
We welcome you all to the Faculty of Surgical Trainers and encourage you to use the ISCP Trainer tools.
About the author:
David O'Regan is the Former Director of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers. He has been a Consultant adult Cardiac Surgeon in Leeds since 2001.
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