Posted on 2 November 2012 by Flora Tristan
I am two minutes late for the teaching session and, slipping into my seat, I apologise to the two speakers for the disruption this has caused.
But I am not overwhelmed by guilt. I am late for impeccably clinical reasons (Alfred and his haematemesis). In any case, it seems that the session has not yet started properly, as the speakers are still chatting and swapping anecdotes.
After five minutes, I realise that this unfocused chat actually is the session.
They carry on like this for 50 minutes, even taking some time to discuss with each other the finer points of their areas of expertise and departmental policy, which they absolutely must know is of minimal relevance to the group of clinical and non-clinical staff gathered to listen to them.
I am angry and I can see that other colleagues are too.
The doctors had planned to use this afternoon of PLT (precious learning time) for discussion of three clinical matters, each topic researched and presented by a different person, with the intention thereafter of auditing our practice in the three areas over the next weeks.
You might think this would be exactly what clinicians should be doing — but no. Since we are that rare breed of practice where all the GPs are directly salaried by the health authority, it seems that we cannot arrange our own learning but are required to use our learning time being told about fire drills, IT security, principles of team working or appointment systems, so the practice manager can tick her ‘team-learning’ boxes.
The take-home points from the session this afternoon, once extracted from the stream of consciousness thinking, could have been enunciated in two minutes and written on a piece of A5 paper.
My temper does not improve as the afternoon goes on.
Our next session (an hour and three quarters) is run by two of those ambulant trainers who have been brought up to prefer process to content, ostensible democracy to clarity.
So when we discuss how to deal with the violent patient, or emergencies in the waiting room or responding to the panic button, the trainer asks for the group’s suggestions and invariably responds: ‘Yes, that’s interesting: anybody have any other thoughts?’
This is the committee approach to life-threatening emergency or gripping central chest pain as a topic for team building. I am all for democracy and voting in appropriate situations but clinical emergencies are not in that category.
I am so annoyed I go home and look at my contract of employment. It is unsurprisingly vague about the nature of PLT and about who decides its content. We need clarification.
medical education and training