Top doctors need support from above, below and alongside

Top doctors need support from above, below and alongside

More support is needed for top doctors “from above, below and alongside,” according to a report from Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Based on a survey collating the views of NHS medical directors, it’s worth considering the report’s messages from the viewpoint of all doctors, regardless of level, speciality or sector.  Many of the respondents reported they are new to their role – a quarter having served a year or less in their current position.  They would value improved mentoring and induction, particularly in relation to the less familiar aspects of their new responsibilities.  Improved organisational and peer support is identified as a requirement to nurture the growth of personal resilience.  Finally, the climate of significant cultural change has accelerated the urgency to perform now, with little time for orientation.

These comments are likely to resonate with many doctors, experiencing similar situations and feelings as they progress through their career.  In an ideal world, everyone would experience “organisational and peer support from above, below and alongside.”  However, such a culture must be carefully and deliberately nurtured to become a reality.  It requires the commitment of each individual involved.  For each person in an organisation to receive this multi-level support, the implication is that each must in turn be actively engaged in providing the same in return.  It’s therefore essential for doctors to equip themselves with the skills required to meet the challenge.

Such team interaction – how to both gain and provide such support – is a key topic of discussion on our Advanced Communication Skills Course for Doctors. At these events we explore team interactions in depth and support doctors to create action plans for improvement.

So when we consider the support you receive and how it could be improved, pause to consider: How well equipped am I and how effectively am I supporting above, below and alongside?