Workforce, training and education
Yorkshire and Humber
Study time for higher specialty trainees

The training of emergency medicine clinicians is based largely on experiential learning in clinical practice.  However, not all learning is entirely gained from clinical work.  It is important for you to be provided with teaching and protected time for self-directed learning outside this clinical time.  These trainees are also required to gain competencies in other areas including teaching, management and clinical governance activity (including critical literature review, audit and quality improvement, incident investigation and complaint review).  This learning is timetabled within working hours.

Time allocated for study time

The standard set by the Yorkshire School of Emergency Medicine is that each trainee at this grade/level will receive an average of one day per week study time when not on annual leave.  It is recommended that this time is delivered as one day per week.  Where this is not possible (such as week of weekday nights within a full shift rota) this time should be reallocated at another suitable time within the rota cycle.

It is expected that this allocation will provide approximately 30 days study time per year, allowing for the regional program and annual leave, or between 90 and 150 days over the duration of training for self-directed learning. As well as preparing for the FRCEM examination, this study time is the resource that a trainee can use to add value to their training and better prepare them for gaining consultant employment in what is likely to be a highly competitive job market. Trainees should be aware of the potential consequences of not using this time effectively.

Study time versus study leave

Study time is different to study leave.  Study time is the one day per week on average that a trainee is provided with as part of their agreed rota for learning outside their clinical time. Study leave is leave relating to a specific educational experience (e.g. a course, conference etc). It would be expected, however, that when a trainee has study leave in any particular week, their study time for that week will be moved to coincide with the period of study leave unless attendance at the regional training programme is required

Use of Study Time

Study time must be used to deliver agreed objectives within a trainee’s Personal Development Plan (PDP) or to deliver the training curriculum.  Objectives within a PDP may include working on their QIP project or other clinical governance activity, research, management or teaching delivery.  Part of the regular meetings between trainees and their educational/clinical supervisors should include the prospective planning of the use of study time.  This should be recorded in the trainee’s portfolio.  A summary report of the use of study time should be written by the trainee, agreed by the educational supervisor and submitted as part of the evidence for the ARCP processes.

Failure to agree use of study time should be referred to the relevant Training Programme Director (TPD).  If objectives and activity cannot be agreed, the Head of School (HoS) may request an independent review by other trainers within the programme.  This review may result in agreement of any objectives or activity proposed by the trainee or withdrawal of discretionary study time for a period.

The plans for study time should include specific, measurable and achievable outcomes that can be delivered within a defined time period. Failure to deliver such outcomes may lead to study time being worked in the emergency department as fixed administration sessions.

It is strongly recommended that, over the duration of the period of training, at least one piece of original work (research or audit) should be submitted for peer review, either to a conference for an oral or poster presentation or as a manuscript for publication. Trainees should be encouraged to complete a piece of original research as well as the CTR/QIP required for successful completion of the FRCEM examination. There will be a requirement for trainees to produce a summary of the work done in their study time in their portfolios to inform the yearly ARCP process.

If this is not done, there should be evidence of completed assignments in other domains (such as clinical governance or teaching). If there is no evidence of progress in this then, in the first instance, the trainee will be required to undertake a specific project deemed suitable by their Educational Supervisor in conjunction with the TPD and HoS. If there is unsatisfactory progress with the specific project then the option to require some or all of the allocated study time to be worked in the emergency department may be exercised.

It is expected that this policy will be administered at a local level.  Any disputes relating to implementation of this policy should be taken to the relevant Training Programme Director.  If the dispute involves the TPD or their department the trainee may elect to take this issue to the Head of School or another TPD after discussion with the Head of School.