Supporting our membership: what the Association is doing

 

The Association of Anaesthetists are aware of the challenges facing the profession at all levels and is grateful to our members for their insightful contributions and feedback from the front line. The findings from a recent College survey of 2,170 anaesthetists-in-training revealed a range of serious pressure points impacting on the morale and welfare of our professional community.

The Association will do all it can to support the wellbeing of our colleagues with practical solutions to help you to weather this storm and to ensure that your concerns and contributions are impacting at the highest level.

If not addressed, the current situation risks harm, not just to doctors, but also to patients.

Below you can find information about the initiatives we have in place to support members facing issues raised by the recent surveys.

Mentoring: Our mentoring scheme provides structured access to trained mentors.

The scheme, which is free of charge, allows mentees to benefit from guidance and support from experienced, fully-trained mentors in their region. We're actively growing the scheme by training and upskilling more mentors with a view to offering more anaesthetists in training access to this career-enhancing support service.

You can contact us directly to arrange your first mentoring session by filling in this booking form or come along to a free taster session at one of our events.

Coffee and a Gas: We launched the first #CoffeeAndAGas initiative to mark International Stress Day in November 2017 by encouraging colleagues to take the time out of their busy working day to have a chat. We had a fantastic response with many of you taking the time to catch up with colleagues and share your experiences and concerns.  Why not keep up the habit by creating your own, regular #CoffeeAndAGas at your Trust, and start conversations with your wider team today?

#KnockItOut campaign: Our #KnockItOut campaign aims to foster a positive workplace culture that is free from bullying, harassment and undermining behaviours in anaesthesia. Stemming from the original #HammerItOut movement, our membership is showing its commitment through #KnockItOut by condemning systemic negative attitudes towards trainees and bring colleagues closer together in a collaborative working culture.

As a member-led organisation, we want to nurture and empower individuals to speak out against unacceptable behaviours, as well as shine a light on those who demonstrate exemplar attitudes, using these to influence wider improvements within the NHS.

Fatigue awareness: A recent study published in Anaesthesia titled ‘A national survey of the effects of fatigue on trainees in anaesthesia in the UK’ (more), found that many of the 2,231 anaesthetic trainees who responded had experienced an accident or near miss when driving home after a night shift. We established a collaborative initiative to address the risks of fatigue with the RCoA and FICM, as well as other partner organisations.

The first output is a series of downloadable resources designed to inform, educate and provide standards for departments and individuals to adopt in the face of fatigue.

 

Free to access online, these resources will also be mailed to every NHS Trust in England, Wales and Scotland, with further distribution to follow. The resource packs will be issued in the hope that they will be utilised to improve the standard of rest facilities, raise awareness of the dangers of fatigue and shape a conversation around why a culture which promotes and protects high quality rest is a good thing for doctors and patients alike.

Pay-related issues: The Association, in conjunction with the Royal College of Anaesthetists recently conducted a survey of trainee issues with pay. It can often feel like no one is listening or taking the ongoing pay issues on board. The Association and RCoA take this very seriously and are working together to take this forward in the most effective way.

Less Than Full Time (LTFT) training issues: We're committed to supporting members who undertake their training in LTFT roles and have adapted a guide to LTFT training in anaesthesia from a collaborative report which provides advice on the practical elements of organising part-time training, available here.

Practioner Health Programme (PHP): This is a confidential scheme and the Association is currently in discussion to explore potential partnerships which may best support our members. You can find out more information here.

Trainee Network Leads (TNL): As a membership organisation, we're building local networks where colleagues can share information and mutual support. For trainees we have developed a local network of more than 35 TNLs throughout the UK. You can search for a TNL near you here.

Sharing knowledge: Senior colleagues will continue the production of good practice guides to pass on decades worth of knowledge to share among teams and departments.

In the future

We are looking into new ways we can support trainees. Some of these include:

  • Training and examination support: With a large network of more than 11,000 practising anaesthetists, we are looking to develop a scheme to offer support, coaching and advice from experienced educators and former examiners to members who find difficulty in organising and prioritising their exam knowledge with a view to improving performance.
  • Wellbeing champions: Working with hospital departments, we plan to create a network of ‘wellbeing champions’ who can become a beacon of information, advice, guidance and support locally.

Watch for news on these future initiatives as they roll out.