Now that you have passed the FRCS you have moved into the final phase of your training programme. Firstly, congratulations, passing the exam is no mean feat! The most stressful year of your life is now over, and you have overcome a massive hurdle in demonstrating your clinical knowledge. Your CCT is now just over the hill and you will no doubt be focusing on meeting all the GMC’s requirements for entry onto the Specialist Register.
As a trainee, protected formal teaching time within your job plan is a formal requirement, and contractual obligation, from the School of Surgery and JCST. A minimum 70% attendance at this is mandatory for all trainees. However, as you have now passed the exam you may wish to utilise this time in a different way in order to help you achieve the criteria and experience necessary for CCT. Post exam trainees are therefore permitted to organise alternative educational activities on a Friday afternoon, but within the following guidance:
• As a post exam trainee, you are a useful educational resource to the Training Programme. You will therefore be expected to attend the normal Friday afternoon teaching on clinical days, anatomy day, etc. to help with the teaching. You are also expected to attend those sessions relevant to your subspecialist interest – eg. If you are aiming to become a knee surgeon, you will be expected to attend the Knee block sessions. Helping to moderate the GoToMeeting webinars while we are having webinar-based teaching is also very helpful and useful management experience.
• You may only utilise your Friday afternoons for alternative educational activity if you remain on an ARCP outcome 1 (or 10.1 during Covid times).
• You must discuss your intentions prospectively with the Education Director & TPD and prepare a 1 side A4 learning agreement with your current CS/s – see appendix 1, this should be uploaded into the other evidence section of your ISCP portfolio so it can be viewed by the ARCP panel.
• Please send a copy of your agreed plan to the Education Director so they are aware you will be utilising your Friday afternoon time elsewhere.
• You must have clear learning outcomes for your planned Friday afternoon activity. These must be SMART, agreed with your trainers, and reviewed regularly.
• You must keep a diary of your Friday afternoon activity (see appendix 2), showing that you have been engaged in alternative educational activities for a minimum of 70% of Friday afternoons. If you cannot demonstrate this, you will not have met the requirements for successfully completing your 6 month attachment, so will not have a successful ARCP outcome.
• Your alternative educational activities must be evidenced with appropriate WBAs – eg. PBAs for theatre cases, CBDs / CEXs for clinics, tutorials, etc. These WBAs are in addition to the minimum required per 6-month job for all trainees.
• There should be evidence of reflective writing at the end of each job about your alternative educational activities – covering both specific learning activities you have undertaken and your activities as a whole. This should be uploaded into the other evidence section of your ISCP portfolio so it can be viewed by the ARCP panel
• Those trainees on OOP research, experience or career breaks are obviously not expected to attend any educational activities on a Friday afternoon as this time does not count towards their CCT, so this evidence will not be required.
• Those trainees on OOP training (including TIG’s & pre CCT fellowships) are expected to maintain one session of educational activity weekly, so must provide this evidence, although it won’t necessarily be on a Friday afternoon, depending on the local arrangements in the Deanery in which they are training.
Hopefully this guidance clarifies the requirements needed to utilise your Friday afternoons for alternative educational activity. Please don’t forget this is time you are paid to learn, so we can’t have you in service rather than learning roles, being a human retractor or clinic monkey, as that’s not fair use of your time. It’s also not free time for you to go shopping or sit in the pub! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact either your TPD or Education Director.
Guidance updated September 2022