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How the modern NHS team can learn together in the busy hospital – a new guide

Healthcare teams must take advantage of daily learning opportunities in the workplace.

Never too busy to learn, supported by Health Education England, says that high-quality learning opportunities are essential for clinicians in training, both for the successful completion of their training and to ensure high standards of care in the NHS.

However, that learning can be neglected due to being squeezed out by multiple pressures and insufficient attention to the learning opportunities provided by day-to-day practice.

To overcome this hurdle, the report explains how to increase the use and effectiveness of opportunistic learning on the wards and in clinics, with an emphasis on team learning, whilst also valuing the power of individuals, and the importance of dedicating time to professional development.

It includes case studies and reflections showing how this approach works in practice, ranging from making the most of pre-existing education settings like ward rounds and outpatient clinics, to creating new, shorter opportunistic ‘huddles’.

The report emphasises the team nature of modern medical practice, as the traditional medical firm has evolved into multidisciplinary teams.

Any member of the wider team – for example a pharmacist, a nurse, a junior doctor – can lead a learning opportunity, it doesn’t have to be the consultant on the ward, the report says.

Giving all members of the team opportunities to contribute offers variation and a fresh perspective on learning situations, it claims, which don’t necessarily need modern technology – simple human interactions can be just as effective in educational activities.

Dr Emma Vaux, RCP vice-president for education, said: “We work together and so as teams we should learn together. Today’s doctors have the potential to benefit not only from supervision and mentorship of more experienced doctors but also to learn with, and from, our team colleagues.

“This report describes a wealth of different ways to do this in practice and how those learning opportunities may be created.”

Prof Sheona Macleod , Deputy Medical Director for Education Reform, Health Education England: “Health Education England recognises the increasing pressures that clinical educators and healthcare learners are under.

“This new practical guidance is particularly helpful as it is set within the context of the multi professional teams which now provide the wider experience and support that doctors in training received from the medical firm in the past. It demonstrates how to make the most of every learning opportunity in the current environment in which healthcare professions work together for patients.”

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