Foundation doctors present evidence-based medicine

Best Practice: Training foundation doctors to develop their use of evidence-based medicine and audit through giving them the opportunity to give a presentation to a large audience

Who did it: Tony Choules, Foundation School Director, Staffordshire Foundation School; Chris Satur, Postgraduate Clinical Tutor, University Hospital of North Staffordshire; Diarmuid Mulherin, Postgraduate Clinical Tutor, Mid Staffordshire.

Foundation doctors (FDs) are required to develop a variety of competences as part of their training.  Among these are an understanding and use of evidence-based medicine, audit and service improvement.

They are also required to be able to present their ideas clearly to others.  Although FDs are often expected to research and present on an evidence-based topic or audit to small audiences in their departments, only a few have the opportunity to share their work at larger meetings.  Learning to gather, interpret and present information clearly is a vital part of foundation doctor training.

We wanted to inspire FDs across the school to develop their skills and give them the opportunity to present their ideas to a wider audience.  Six months ago we ran our first Foundation Doctor Presentation Half Day inviting FDs from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Mid-Staffordshire and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to enter a case report, audit, research finding or literature review.  In line with most educational meetings trainees were given a short presentation slot followed by time for questions.  We offered a small cash prize for the best entries.

In January 2012 we ran our second meeting.  This was significantly oversubscribed suggesting an enthusiasm among FDs to take part.

Presentations at these events were of a very high standard.  Many presentations stimulated significant discussion among a wide audience of trainees, SAS doctors and consultants from all three Trusts.

The ideas generated and shared will, no doubt, make a difference to the trainees involved and, hopefully, to patient care.  Above all, trainees seemed to enjoy the challenge of presenting to a larger audience and to learn the skills required, particularly timekeeping.

The high degree of interest in the second meeting will lead to a review of the selection criteria and, probably require the submission of more formal abstracts.  This could, perhaps lead to the offer of poster-type presentations mirroring what is required at national meetings.  We plan to rotate this event around the Staffordshire Foundation School and to consider other events to maintain enthusiasm in our trainees.

Overall, we feel that such events help to motivate our FDs to share their ideas and experiences, learn and develop new skills and, above all, to know that their ideas are important and will be taken seriously by others in the medical profession.

For further information contact Tony Choules, Foundation School director (Staffordshire) -