SpR Appraisals in Clinical Genetics

What is appraisal?

Appraisal is an ongoing confidential process. It is a series of meetings between trainee and trainer (the educational supervisor) that is primarily educational and focussed on the trainee and their personal and professional needs.  As appraisal is a one to one confidential tool, any documentation arising from it should not be used to inform any formal assessment processes unless specifically agreed by both parties.

Who organises the appraisal?

When the clinical genetic specialist registrars were asked in 1999, it was the appraisal that was the thing that was not happening on a regular basis. It is recommended that to ensure appraisals happen, the onus for organising them be put onto the specialist registrars who have a right to confidential appraisal during protected time (around 45 minutes recommended).

Who does the appraisal?

The trainee's educational supervisor usually does the appraisal for that year of their training, or that particular part of a rotation.


How often should appraisals occur?

Appraisal needs to be performed at the beginning, middle and end of each year or part of the rotation.  At the beginning a plan should be made as to what the trainee wants to achieve during the following months.  The middle appraisal reflects a check on progress and allows time for a change of direction if things are not going as well as they might.  The appraisal at the end of the year or part of rotation can review what has been achieved and set goals for the next phase of training. Appraisals should be occurring at least six monthly. 


What should happen during an appraisal?

During an appraisal the specialist registrar and education supervisor should discuss training objectives, case mix for the coming months, planning attendance at meetings and courses and monitoring development of case reports, projects etc.


A suggested outline for an appraisal

  • Review the specialist registrar's previous experience for those new to Clinical Genetics, patient numbers/case mix for those already entered in training.
  • Review goals achieved and difficulties encountered since previous review.
  • Plan for the next six months:
    • Clinical skills required, discuss case mix
    • Courses and learning opportunities
    • Research plan
    • Check that this all fits in with long-term objectives
  • Complete and sign appraisal form

Reports for RITA assessments

The only documentation from appraisals routinely submitted to the RITA are the forms in appendix 1, recording the appraisal took place and the objectives for the next training period. The educational supervisor must provide a separate assessment summary for the assessment panel.  The whole point of regular appraisals, is that the trainee becomes aware if the supervisor does perceive problems and is having continuing help throughout the year trying to remedy them rather than being surprised to learn about them at the RITA.  Conversely if the trainee perceives problems these can be addressed.

What should the SpR do if appraisal is difficult to organise?

In this situation, the SpR should first approach the regional speciality advisor or programme director. If problems still exist following this, the SpR should contact the postgraduate Dean.