New simulated return to work for doctors

An interview with Dr. Camilla Tooley all about this new innovative initiative involving a simulated return to work for doctors.

At Medic Footprints we realise that returning to work after a prolonged period of leave (in any capacity) can be quite daunting; especially within medicine. The availability of good Return to Work support for doctors can be quite varied, with most in our experience, having no access to this at all.

Possessing a lack of confidence and rusty skills whilst returning to a high-intensity work environment is essentially a recipe for disaster for patients, employers and the individual themselves!

Therefore we were excited when Dr. Camilla Tooley contacted us about this innovative initiative she is involved in which is run by Maudsley Simulation and Sail, Guys and St Thomas Simulation Centres.

We find out more about her own career pathway from Psychiatry to Medical Education and how she ended up working as a counsellor with Relate, as well as what one would expect from attending the course!

Tell us about yourself!

I left Psychiatry Training this year after following interests in medical education and relationship therapy.

My interests stemmed from my previous experience which included organising training and induction as a core psychiatry trainee across South London and Maudsley, in combination with being a local and then south London trainee representative. I also had taken time out of programme to complete a PGCME at my previous medical school where I led mental health tutorials, created and ran student selected components in History and Cultural Psychiatry and finally ended up taking a General Medical Education fellowship which was where I became involved in simulation.

I’ve since completed a Diploma in Medical Education.

In respect of Relationship Therapy, during the PGCME, I also completed a Diploma in Relationship Counselling with Relate. Through this I developed over 100-200 hours work with couples and gained a Certificate of Proficiency as a qualified Relationship Therapist. I now work part time for Relate in London Bridge.

As a Maudsley Simulation as a Simulation Fellow and have been involved in the development of this training package together with Guys and St Thomas Simulation Centre and a team of other educators including Psychiatry, Psychology and Nursing backgrounds.

How did you first hear about this simulated Return to Work role?

The Simulation role was advertised on NHS Jobs – they were looking for someone with specific clinical experience of working in mental health and a preference for skills in Medical Education.

My unique selling point I believe is that I have developed expertise in a range of settings and have a wealth of background experience in education. I also fit with the team culture; I am passionate about mental health and see care needs to be holistic outside and inside.

This approach sits well with a team of creative educationists.

Why was this particular course set up in the first place?

During the last five years, at any given time, There were approximately 5,000 – or 10% – of Postgraduate doctors taking approved time out of programme.

The challenges faced by returners based on an Academy of Medical Royal Colleges 2016 survey revealed returners’ concerns about their clinical competence, current knowledge and about colleague perceptions. Respondents reported a lack of provision of resources to support their return to work alongside other evidence which highlights length of time out of training as a valid predictor of level of skills decline.

The project team also noted a robust evidence-base supporting the educational value of accelerated learning opportunities, such as simulation and bootcamps.

A bootcamp in this context is defined as a focused course designed to enhance learning, orientation, and preparation for learners entering a new clinical role. This is achieved through the use of multiple educational methods with a focus on deliberate practice with formative feedback.

Tell us more about the Simulated Return to Work course? 

The course will be run over 4 days with focus on values, individuals concerns of return, policy change, signposting to areas of support, clinical skills and simulation scenarios across general medical and mental health care settings.

The training is focussed for healthcare professionals planning to return to practice with priority placed on prior staff across South London, Kent, Surrey & Sussex. It is not a prerequisite to be in a training post currently and certainly for the first bootcamps we are keen to roll out the training so may be more flexible to whether doctors have originated from KSS or are currently in the area with plans to return to practice.

This training has been commissioned and funded by Health Education England.

Tell us more about the Simulation element of this bootcamp?

The simulated return to work scenarios cover a variety of general medical including emergency and mental health scenarios. We have opted to follow a patient journey to guide through different challenges across community, emergency and ward based care. The students will also be involved in interactive group work, value based work and clinical skills and communication skills practice.

As one of the course creators I will be a facilitator for the bootcamps with other colleagues include Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Nurses, all working within Maudsley Simulation and the Sail centre at Guys and St Thomas for which the training has been co-created across.

What kind of outcomes are you hoping for with this course?

We hope that doctors returning to practice will feel supported, more confident, and more capable with better awareness of support available to them. It’s also important to ensure that supervisors and educators will be more capable of supporting returners.

We would be aiming at commencing this training for around 100 healthcare professionals.

We will continue to evaluate will the impact of this programme and support its future development and dissemination

For more information about the free 4 day course and how to register, please visit the Maudsley Simulation Website

The following two tabs change content below.

Abeyna Bubbers-Jones

Abeyna is the Founder & Director of Medic Footprints and a Consultant Physician in Occupational Health