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Watching the watchmen: an evaluation of educational supervision in a busy district general hospital
  1. Christopher James Heining1,
  2. Marie Wheeler1,2,
  3. Peter Fletcher1
  1. 1 Postgraduate Medical Education, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cheltenham, UK
  2. 2 Paediatrics, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Christopher James Heining, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 82 Laynes Road, Gloucester GL3 3PZ, UK; chrisheining{at}


Introduction Educational supervisors (ESs) play a critical role in the training of Foundation doctors. Many hospital trusts do not currently offer formal mechanisms to ensure the quality of supervision is at a high standard. Our Trust wanted to empower trainees to offer objective feedback on the quality of the supervisors.

Methods We introduced a feedback form sent to all Foundation doctors at our Trust. The questionnaire was designed to identify whether ESs were meeting their responsibilities as defined by the Health Education England South West’s Severn Deanery. We collected data throughout the academic year 2017–2018 (Year 1) as a pilot, before rolling out the definitive questionnaire with minor modifications from 2018 to 2019 (Year 2).

Results All respondents met with their supervisor within the first month of the placement and 90.7% of the trainees found it easy to meet with their supervisor. The Trust received generally very good feedback for all of its supervisors. Low numbers (4/120 trainees) reported supervisors not engaging with the exception reporting process.

Conclusion Our Trust provides ESs of a high standard. The authors believe collecting feedback for ESs will achieve three things: 1) Drive up standards through increasing accountability of ESs receiving objective feedback. This will be of critical importance in the context of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic and the changes to our work it has necessitated. 2) Empower trainees to make informed decisions about where they wish to train and under which supervisors. 3) Facilitate revalidation and appraisal for supervisors by collecting data from trainees on the quality of their supervision.

  • Medical education & training

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  • Contributors Project design and feedback form design was done by CJH. CJH also drafted the article for review by MW and PF. Support with project design and feedback form was by MW with critical appraisal and editing of the submitted article. Overall project support was by PF with critical appraisal and editing of the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.