The RCP’s latest report, Never too busy to learn, helps healthcare teams make the most of daily learning opportunities in the workplace.
The report, 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 over 20 inspirational 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’ and learning over the tea trolley.
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. Giving all members of the team opportunities to contribute offers variation and a fresh perspective on learning situations, which don’t necessarily need modern technology – simple human interactions can be just as effective in educational activities.
As a useful and practical resource, the report has the potential to greatly improve the frequency, value and effectiveness of opportunistic learning across the team, with consequent benefits for the quality of patient care. The report will not be a static resource, it will be added to with further good practice examples – healthcare professionals will be invited to contribute.
Dr Hussain Basheer, RCP education fellow, who compiled the report, said:
As the way we deliver healthcare and provide our service has evolved to meet increasing demand, with increasingly stretched resources, it is no wonder that trainees and trainers alike, of all professions, feel that time to learn and develop is being squeezed out. It is therefore a real pleasure to be able to share excellent educational practice that is being done, alongside the intense pressure of our workplaces.