There should be a relationship between an individual’s training and the organisation’s strategy. You may think this is self-evident, but most doctors I know never consider their Trust’s strategy when applying for study leave! Rather, they think of it as an instiutional ‘right’. Now, obviously, as professionals, doctors ought to be able (to a certain extent) to decide for themselves what training needs they have, but I think ‘study leave’ is an underutilised lever for aligning the needs of the organisation with those of the individual. For example, we know that multi-disciplinary working is essential for patient safety, yet how often do we use study leave to encourage such team working? Similarly, we know that a common cause of patient complaints is the attitude of staff, yet do we insist on personal development training?
Planned training is a ‘…deliberate intervention aimed at achieving the learning necessary for improved job performance.’ (Kenney and Reid, 1994).
If we used these criteria for assessing the use of study leave in the NHS, I think we’d often have a tough time justifying it. It’s time for clinical and medical directors to be pro-active with study leave for the benefit of their organisations and, ultimately, patients.
- Bernhard, H.B. and Ingolis, C.A. (1988). ‘Six lessons for the corporate classroom’, Harvard Business Review. 66(5), 40-48.
- Bramley, P. (1996). Evaluating Training. London, Institute of personnel and development.
- Kenney J and Reid M (1994). Training Interventions, 4th Ed, Institute of personnel and development, London.