Article Text

Introducing a professional development framework for postgraduate medical supervisors in secondary care: considerations, constraints and challenges
  1. Tim Swanwick1,
  2. Judy McKimm2,
  3. Robert Clarke1
  1. 1London Deanery, London, UK
  2. 2University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tim Swanwick, Director of Professional Development, London Deanery, 32 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN, UK; tim.swanwick{at}


Purpose of study As the duration of postgraduate training becomes shorter, direct patient contact time is reduced, and supervision becomes more distributed, there is a move to ‘professionalise’ postgraduate medical education. This paper reports an initiative in one postgraduate training institution (the London Deanery) to develop and introduce a developmental framework and system of portfolio-based review of educational supervisors in the secondary care setting.

Study design 16 acute, mental health, foundation and primary-care Trusts participated in a pilot project, which was subsequently evaluated using focus groups and a semistructured questionnaire.

Results Thematic analysis of transcripts identified a number of considerations, constraints and challenges, important observations given the current policy intention of the UK health departments to introduce mandatory training and performance review for educational supervisors.

Conclusion This pilot study shows that such a process can be implemented at local level if facilitated by a clear and unambiguous developmental framework that can be applied flexibly across all specialities. Systems of review also need to be simple and straightforward, take into account existing appraisal processes, and simultaneously address issues of motivation, recognition and reward.

Statistics from


  • The final version of the London Deanery Professional Development Framework for Supervisors can be viewed at

  • Competing interests TS is leading on a project for the Academy of Medical Educators and Department of Health to develop a system of mandatory training and performance review of educational supervisors.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.