Information for Trainers Referring a Trainee to Professional Support
The Professional Support Team provides advice and guidance to postgraduate doctors and dentists in training, where they have already accessed first-line support via their trust or educational team and still need assistance.
We offer a confidential, neutral, safe space in which to explore the challenges your trainee is facing and help them to find the right support and guidance, based on their needs.
When you might refer a trainee
We encourage you to refer trainees to our service if you think they would benefit from the additional support we can provide. You may wish to consider referring a trainee who:
- Is struggling with a career decision – this might be about which path to take next, how to maximise opportunities or how to create a career that works for them as an individual. We can offer bespoke career guidance expertise to trainees who are struggling with their career choice for any reason, or who may be considering leaving medicine entirely.
- Has health problems that are impacting on their training or career choice, or their employment of work. There are many avenues of support open to these trainees but they may be confused about which to access, or which should be prioritised.
- Is struggling in the workplace with issues such as confidence, communication, relationships or leadership and management skills. Again, it may be that your trainee has already accessed some additional support but the problem has not yet been resolved.
- Would benefit or thrive with further access to coaching or mentoring.
- Has received a diagnosis of neurodiversity and may be struggling to come to terms with this, or would like to discuss the potential impact on their career choice or future training.
- Is less than full time, or is considering going less than full time, who may require additional support for complex health needs, personal challenges or because they have unique opportunities which they want to best run alongside their existing medical career.
- Is struggling to return to training after a period of time out, despite having accessed all of the mechanisms offered by the SuppoRTT programme. Equally, there may be trainees who have been absent for a very extended period who may have additional issues they would like to talk through. Trainees returning after ill health may have ongoing health issues that have a long term impact on their training.
- Is subject to a GMC or GDC investigation or has been involved in a Serious Incident. These trainees will routinely be receiving excellent local support and we do not wish to duplicate or replace this. However, if yourself and the trainee would like to speak to someone independent from this process, you can submit a referral.
- Is being exited, or is likely to be exited, from a training programme due to performance issues. We appreciate there is abundant support for trainees suffering exam failure within Schools, but again, if you feel there may be other appropriate avenues of support you are welcome to submit a referral.
Please note that these are indicative examples, and do not represent a full list of reasons why you may wish to submit a referral.
Before referring a trainee
You must discuss the referral with the postgraduate doctor or dentist in training, prior to submitting the form. The referral form will ask you to confirm this. This is both to ensure that you have as much information and detail as required to make the referral (both in terms of the trainee’s circumstances and of any action that has already been taken to support them), and to ensure they are aware that the Professional Support Team will be contacting them. You should also make them aware that they may be offered an opportunity to meet with an Associate Dean for a supportive discussion.
When an educator refers a trainee to our service, we will keep the trainer up to date on the progress of the referral. It is also important that this is made transparent to the trainee.
Submitting the referral form
Our referral process is electronic. Please complete the Professional Support Trainer Referral form, providing as much detail as you can as to the trainee’s circumstances and why you are seeking assistance for them. We ask that the form be completed with as much detail as possible as this will help us with the timely triage of the referral form and identification of the right method of support for the trainee.
The information provided within the referral form will remain confidential between you, the trainee and the Professional Support Team. No information will be shared with a third party without the trainee’s prior consent.
Triage and support
Following the submission of the referral form, it will be triaged by a senior member of the Professional Support administrative team. Based on the information you provide; they will identify the best source of support for the trainee. In some circumstances, they may need to request further information from you or the trainee beforehand. The Professional Support Team will contact you and the trainee within five working days of the submission of the form to offer support, which may include:
- A recommendation of applicable resources that are tailored to the trainee (this may be advice about a specific organisation that can support them, training course or other support mechanism that will best address their circumstances)
- Advice of a specific person to contact regarding the concerns (for example, they may refer the trainee to a Careers Advisor or Head of School)
- Facilitating a meeting for the trainee to discuss their circumstances in more depth with a senior member of faculty within the Professional Support Team (one of our Associate Deans). If appropriate, you may wish to also attend the meeting, with the agreement of your trainee.
The aim of a meeting with an Associate Dean is to be supportive. Our Associate Deans will provide the trainee (and you, should your attendance be agreed with the trainee) with a non-judgemental, safe space, to discuss the circumstances in more detail and to explore what options and resources would be helpful for the trainee.
Once the trainee has met with an Associate Dean they will complete an encounter form, which outlines the discussions that were had and any agreed support or next steps. A copy of the encounter form will be sent to you and the trainee for your reference. We encourage trainees to upload a copy of the encounter form to their portfolio, but this is not a requirement.