Transition to Consultant Course

Key contacts

Hermione Race, Camilla Sen, Caroline Scott-Lang


We have run a transition to consultant course in London for the past 3 years. We are more than happy to share our experience of doing this and our resources!  Two days of the course involved workshops, interactive lectures and small group discussion facilitated by new consultants. These face-to-face days were separated by several months during which we encouraged trainees to do self-directed learning and shadow an NHS manager and consultant. We used a matching scheme to pair trainees with suitable managers and consultants according to trainee learning needs. A Whatsapp group facilitated networking and peer support. Using questionnaires and peer group discussion we encouraged trainees to develop their reflective practice throughout the course. This enabled trainees to recognize the depth of their learning and explore areas for further development.

Progress made: What have you learned from doing this?

  • Medical training teaches us how to treat the patient in front of us but not how to look after the system.
  • Many trainees feel inadequately prepared for the non-clinical aspects of consultant work including management, leadership and supervision.
  • Empowering trainees to develop these skills is essential for delivery of high quality care to patients and sustainability of the NHS.

What’s your take home message?

Consultants and trainees identified similar concerns about the transition to consultant: increased responsibility and perceived lack of leadership and management experience.

Following the course trainee self-evaluation showed significant improvement in leadership, management, quality improvement, clinical governance and educational supervision skills (p<0.05). Trainees felt more prepared for consultant interviews (p<0.05) and better understood the consultant role (p<0.05). Overall, trainees felt better prepared to become a consultant (p<0.05). In addition, the course helped them to develop an action plan for ongoing learning (p<0.05).

Trainees highly valued the shadowing opportunities. They felt it improved their understanding of hospital systems and strengthened relationships between the professionals. The course made trainees feel inspired and empowered in many non-clinical skills. These are essential for delivery of high-quality patient care and continuous improvement within the NHS.


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