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It is with sadness that I have to announce that the first phase
of TrOn's existence - the Big Bang - is coming to an end.
the future and boldly go
If you’ve had a break from training – or are
planning to – you may be concerned about returning to practice.
Many trainees will need to take time out at
some point for health reasons, family commitments, or to pursue
additional training. Trainees could be juggling childcare with
education, work, and additional activities and
projects. Consequently many will also be anxious about
suspending their training and then returning to practice.
Recognising the importance of offering guidance on this issue to
trainees and their supervisors, the Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee
is leading a free, day-long conference on 21 November
Return to Practice.
In addition to the excellent programme of lectures,
workshops and panel discussions, TrOn will be making an appearance
on the day! If you are attending the conference, do drop by to see
us on our stand during registration and breaks. Our Trainee Editor
(Genevieve Holt) will be discussing TrOn during a panel
discussion chaired by the Dean, who is also giving a paper about
her experiences of LTFT.
The registration deadline for the
conference has been extended to 8th November,
email the PTC with any
There is information on re-entering training
and clinical practice online:
We would also like to emphasise the relevance
of our basic science modules to the issue
of returning to practice. TrOn is not only a go-to resource for
MRCPsych revision but a brilliant way to keep on top of theory and
knowledge, easing you back in to the training groove.
We’ve pulled together some handy information for you on the
College exams, whether you’re sitting your Paper B next week,
taking Paper A in a couple of months, or planning to pass your CASC
Wondering when and where the exams take
The next Paper A diet is on 6 December and the
application period for this is 10-28 October 2016. There will be an
available online between these dates.
The next paper B diet is on 11 October. It’s
too late to apply to sit this exam but there will be more dates in
the New Year. If you are taking the exam – best of luck! See our
TrOn 2-minute treatment #2 – study
guide below for some last-minute hints and tips. Results will
be published on 4 November.
There are no further CASC exams in 2016 but
there will be more scheduled for 2017.
To stay up to date with exam dates,
application periods and results days, see the
Exams Calendar on the College website.
This year, exams have taken place in London,
Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin, Hong Kong, Oman, India
Here are some facts and figures:
There are 2 written papers
(Paper A and Paper B), each 3 hours long and
containing 200 marks. Currently, Paper A is broken
into 2 halves of 90 minutes and
100 marks each but this is for an interim period
only (this is because of
changes to the written papers in recent years).
Paper A and Paper B are each comprised of
2 thirds Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and
1 third Extended Matching Items (EMIs).
Paper A is designed to test your knowledge of
the scientific and theoretical basis of psychiatry; Paper B
critical review and clinical topics. In syllabus terms, Paper A
covers items 1-5 inclusive and Paper B covers
6-14. There are 2 parts to the
the first part covers everything but the second part expands on
the knowledge required for the
critical review exam.
The CASC exam is the Clinical Assessment of
Skills and Competencies.
Remember to familiarise yourself with the
format of the exam so you know what to expect. There are sample
questions online for Paper
A and Paper
B and videos of sample stations for the
You can find out the
marking scheme for the exams online too.
Not successful first time round?
All of the information above and lots more can
be found on the Exams
pages on the College website. Contact the Exams team if you have any
That the Exams unit is looking for a Trainee
Rep to sit on the Examinations Sub-Committee/CASC Panel? Great for
your CV, a chance to find out how the system works and an
opportunity to represent a trainee perspective!
Find out more online.
by Clare Fenton (Trainee Editor)
For my first ARCP panel presentation as an ST4
in child and adolescent psychiatry I took a gamble. I stood in
front of my training program director and other senior consultants
and asked them to take a shoe off and place it in front of them on
the table. They all looked suitably puzzled, but complied with an
assortment of shoes (in varying states of cleanliness and repair)
being placed on the table.
I asked them to consider this shoe for a few
No doubt at that point they thought I was
going to say something about walking in another’s shoes (and
possibly were contemplating my future in psychiatry!), instead I
asked them why they had obeyed me. Why did a ‘lowly’ ST4 get them
to do something they did not want to do and did not feel
particularly comfortable with? The answer lies in the conclusions
Milgram made after his famous ‘shocking’ experiment into
conformity. I had power given to me as the presenter and therefore
requests, even unusual ones, were complied with.
As psychiatrists, we inevitably have power
over our patients. They arrive at our clinics or on our ward
recognising (mostly) their need for our help. The result is that
they will try to comply with our requests even when it causes them
some distress. A person suffering from schizophrenia may find it
very difficult to completely trust others who offer them
medication, yet the doctor-patient relationship will more than
likely help persuade them. Another patient suffering from
depression may not believe that the therapy you advocate will
actually result in any change in mood, however they may allow you
to book a therapist because they feel the need to be compliant.
This ‘power’ can furthermore be very useful in
certain situations, especially persuading a patient to take life
saving medication, however, does it actually result in the patient
changing their mind? I would argue that it does not.
The patient still retains their own viewpoint,
with possibly no fundamental shift in their attitude, and may
merely be obeying commands. The result is that during the clinic
session a psychiatrist can feel a false sense of satisfaction when
the patient agrees with them about the best course of treatment to
take, but in reality they are just being compliant. The depressed
patient who does not believe therapy will help may without question
allow you to book a therapist for them, but then not actually turn
up to the appointments. The patients who are advised to stop
abusing drugs or alcohol may nod along during the clinic session,
but find there is no motivation to change outside of the clinic
To truly change someone’s mind you have to
first understand why they have made that decision or have that
opinion in the first place.
Taking time to listen and consider all the
reasons why a patient may not wish to comply with your opinion can
be critical to treatments that rely on a patient’s own
Remove some of a patient’s need to be
compliant by telling them that while you are able to advise what
the best evidence-based treatments available are, they are the
experts on themselves and will therefore be best placed to know
which option will work best for them.
Once you have a full understanding about why
the patient holds a particular opinion or attitude, various
techniques can be deployed to help the patient understand your
recommendations for their treatment.
These techniques may have to be deployed in
stages, over a number of sessions, depending on the nature of the
change that needs to occur. Techniques used in motivational therapy
can be very useful when trying to truly change a patient’s mind
about something. You could start educating your patient by simply
giving them a few salient facts, backed up with some written
information for them to browse outside of the clinic room. This can
be useful when the patient does not have a formed opinion about the
treatment being offered. In other situations, such as when
recommending abstinence from illicit drugs or alcohol, more formal
psycho-educational techniques will be needed and could form a
portion of the clinical sessions with the patient.
Ultimately, educating the patient and
empowering them to make the change themselves will result in a
patient that is far more motivated to attempt the change than one
who is simply being obedient.
Well, hello there! Did you know that as a
College trainee, you’re entitled to free access to the British
Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP)’s online Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) resource? No? Well you are! We’ve teamed up
with the BAP to offer you this benefit.
Signing up is as quick and as easy as
1. Login to TrOn using your
College user details
2. Go to ‘My TrOn’
3. Click on the link at the
bottom of the page, which will direct you to the BAP website
3. Login or Register on the
4. Once logged in you will be
directed to the BAP user homepage
5. Click the 'Subscribe' button
to subscribe to the online CPD at the discounted rate.
know if you need any help. Or just give us a cheer:
Getting free stuff is so fun, we think TrOn is number
You may have noticed a change in the air, some new blood, a
fresh perspective and a veritable shake up with our TrOn module
A new era is upon us. Winter is coming...STOP! No this is not a
salute to GoT, but a heads-up to say that TrOn now exists in scroll
through. We have recently published our first two scroll through
style modules – more mobile and tablet friendly, less clicking and
These scroll through modules differ to the older ‘click through’
format in that pages will be longer, as they now comprise of a full
section; there may be more ‘pop-up’ links for interactive elements
and maybe even more strategically placed videos and images to aid
the learning process for trainees.
Speaking to my fellow content and trainee editors, I asked
them what they liked best about these new scroll throughs: ‘This is
a beautiful thing. Oh how I wish I'd had this when I was doing
MRCPsych!’, ‘Looks good’ and ‘Great job, I know how much work went
into this’. The authors have been pleased as punch with the new
look as well, with virtual smiles beaming from here to there.
However don’t take our word for it, try them out yourself and if
you have any further feedback to offer please fill in the
the end of each module you complete and tell us what you like
It was not as big as X Factor on a Saturday
night or as flashy as a Kardashian red carpet outfit, but TrOn goes
Glee! gave a winning performance Thursday lunch time at the
Trainees Lounge, RCPsychIC 2016.
To start off the fun we had a spectacular
pre-session entry from Meenie, who unfortunately could
not attend the Congress, but offered her melodic stylings, singing
her heart out and teaching us, not what love is all about, but what
a neuron is.
This entry surpassed all expectations, so much
so that I thought maybe the competition was over?
But as the old adage goes: It’s not over until
the....(well you know the rest) and we had some competitive teams
vying for the ‘ultimate study pack’ prize with their creative
Some of our runners up submitted the following
classics, using the modules Pharmacokinetics: Part 1 and Types of cell in the nervous system for
For the general principles of pharmacokinetics we have:
Teaching us about the various methods of drug
Thank you to both Daniel Cooper and Alex Smith
who contributed these little beauties.
However the ‘Grand Poobah’ of them all came
from our infectiously enthusiastic winners: Kanika (or should
I say ‘Captain High-5’), Brenda, George and Catrin. These four
trainees gave us not only an outstanding mnemonic but also embodied
the fun and spirit of the session – making learning fun!
Without further adieu here it is – sing it if
Mitochondria is the energy in my
Lysosomes break me apart
The nucleus controls who I'll
Golgi apparatus wraps around
Like the myelin around an axon
Energy branches into the
Dendrites branch into your
To the synapses where neurotransmitters
You're my rough Nissl substance with
You make the protein which completes
Kanika, George, Brenda and Catrin are all CT2
trainees. Kanika is in the Oxford deanery, currently working in the
community in High Wycombe and hopes to do psychotherapy in the
future. Brenda, George and Catrin are in Severn deanery and Brenda
and Catrin are also working in the community. Amazingly they all
only met George on the Thursday and seem to have already bonded
Thank you everyone for contributing on the day
and especially to our master of ceremonies, Amy Manley, who I
thought would perhaps break into song for us at one point, but
sadly it was not to be.
Be on the lookout for more TrOn fun, modules
and new improvements in the coming weeks and keep an eye out for
what we have in store for next year’s Congress.
The trainees have spoken and the module with the most votes is
(drum roll please).........
Also for those of you who are not able to make our little event,
please feel free to tweet (via PTC Twitter feed) or
email your mnemonic creations to TrOn: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will
publish the best ones on our TrOn pOst.
Warm up those vocal cords and we look forward to singing, I mean
seeing you at the Congress!
Join a flipped classroom, working on a Trainees Online (TrOn)
module of your choosing. Using mnemonics and the power of musical
lyrics as tools to help you remember essential terms and elements
within the module, we will be asking you to contribute with your
own original creations.
Plus Portfolio Online will be joining the session to demonstrate
new elements and links from TrOn.
Prize pack for the winning mnemonic, which will be published on
Note: please bring a laptop or tablet to this
one but two articles relating to trainees and training have been
included in the latest May 2016 edition of BJPsych Advances.
The first: The
MRCPsych post-2015: preparing trainees and improving courses by
Jayne Greening, Erin Turner, Gareth Rees and Caroline Winkle.
This article outlines the changes that have
taken place in the MRCPsych curriculum and examinations and the
various approaches to training that educators can take to support
trainees with their learning.
The second: Being a College
tutor for psychiatry trainees by Prakash Hosalli.
‘A College tutor (formerly known as
clinical tutor) is a consultant National Health Service (NHS)
doctor responsible for the organisation and delivery of education,
high-quality training and learning opportunities for core trainees
in psychiatry working in an NHS trust.'
If you are interested in being a tutor or even
postgraduate teaching than this is the article for you.
Both these articles highlight the importance
of good quality education and training, adapting to the changing
requirements of the trainees and incorporating initiatives such as
TrOn to blend learning with key face-to-face clinical
Welcome to the inaugural TrOn pOst Book Club.
Did you know that Trainees Online is part of the department
that also produces all the RCPsych publications?
Are you aware that one of our TrOn published
authors has also co-authored an RCPsych publication?
Could you name the RCPsych book of the
If you have not yet had a chance to check out
the publications pages on the RCPsych website, then STOP what you
are doing right now and click
With a generous scope of books by specialty,
there are a number of titles to inspire, engage, or even to support
you with studying for your all important MRCPsych exams.
The latest book of the month,
Core Skills for the CASC (written by James Woollard
and Josie Jenkinson), gives practical advice on how to prepare
thoroughly for the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies
(CASC) exam. Detailed advice is given on exam preparation,
including 12 mock stations from which trainees can try out their
newly acquired techniques from skills learned in the initial
chapters of the book.
Another title to consider is one of our very
own TrOn authors, Adam B Joiner’s, co-authored publication
Passing the ARCP: Successful Portfolio-Based Learning
(co- written with Samuel P Dearman, Samantha Abbott and Damien
Longson). This book gives clear and simple advice of how each
trainee needs to maintain their portfolio in order to meet the
required curriculum competencies to progress to the next year of
These are just a sample of titles that are now
available, so stay tuned to see what other brain expanders come hot
off the press in future Book Club pOsts.
And so we close this Book Club session with a
thought and a question:
Using all available resources the College can
offer does not only include the book variety. Remember your network
of colleagues, peers and fellow trainees can be an invaluable rich
source of information as well as great partners in brainstorming
and quick quizzing.
Are you ready to become a consultant
Highlighters at the ready trainees!
With the examination date for
Paper B hurtling towards us on the
12th April we thought here at TrOn central we would
offer some helpful tips and suggestions to support you during your
This time we enlisted the help of some of our illustrious TrOn
authors (and your fellow trainees) to give their ‘two bob’s worth’
on what works best when needing to focus the old
Good luck to everyone who will be sitting the exam and just a
critical review and clinical topic modules will be available on
the TrOn website in the near future!
by Genevieve Holt (Trainee Editor)
(Published in the PTC Magazine,
Registrar, February 2016)
When I applied for the job of Trainees Online
(TrOn) Trainee Editor two years ago, TrOn was a small but extremely
enthusiastic team behind a great idea. Wendy Burn, in her role as
Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, found an opportunity to
develop a learning resource for MRPCsych preparation that would
harness the experience of post-membership trainees and make it
available to the entire cohort of core trainees in the form of
online learning modules aligned to the membership examination
Meet the Trainee Editors and the
by Amy Manley (Trainee Editor and author of our upcoming
With over 25 modules published thus far,
TrOn is increasingly becoming an essential resource for trainees
revising the basic sciences for their MRCPsych exams, but its use
isn’t restricted to independent learning. For core
psychiatry course facilitators, TrOn modules are a great
way to check how your teaching compares and could even change the
way you teach.
In the South West, we used TrOn as part of our
training on the core psychiatry course, asking trainees to complete
a TrOn module before attending their psychopharmacology teaching
day. Ensuring trainees understood the basic material before
entering the classroom meant valuable face-to-face teaching time
could be spent reinforcing learning through group exercises and
applying principles to clinical practice though case
This 'flipped classroom'*,
'blended learning'* approach is about more than trying out
new-fangled teaching methods with catchy names:
Clearly introducing these elements into the
core psychiatry course won’t be without teething problems - in our
first attempt some trainees hadn’t completed the module in advance.
This method may take some getting used to, but feedback was very
positive, and the way this can adapt to the differing needs of
trainees taking exams at different times is really useful in this
group of learners. We’re looking forward to trying it again.
TrOn is freely available to all trainees in
psychiatry and is mapped to the MRCPsych syllabus, which makes it
the perfect resource to complement your teaching. If you teach on a
core psychiatry course and would like to use TrOn, but don’t have
access to the relevant module, then get in contact with the TrOn
You may have noticed a flurry of new TrOn modules recently.
We are now offering 24 out of our planned 63
modules covering the basic science topics on the MRCPsych syllabus.
We have published 5 new modules in just 3 weeks on a diverse range
of topics, from pharmacokinetics to the mental health of ethnic
Why so many now? Because we
are committed to making our content available to you as soon as it
has completed our submission and review processes:
If you want to keep an eye on our progress and
to see how our modules relate to the syllabus, see our module lists
(basic science and clinical and critical review) and
TrOn is for trainees and so
we welcome your feedback to improve. You can leave comments at the
end of every module you complete about what we’re getting right and
what we could do better. You can also email us your thoughts on
TrOn at any time: email@example.com. We always look
into any feedback we receive, and act on it as required.
Here are some nice pie charts to show
our progress so far:
Watch out for even more modules soon!
Ask the Wellness
Dog for a treatment
Hello all authors and future TrOn writers!
With a brand new year upon us we thought we
would start our own New Year’s resolutions with the first of our
TrOn 2-minute treatments.
Not quite the cure for all ills, but a few key
suggestions to help you keep on track when writing your
The Checklist: (keep this
handy to tick things off as you go)
Simple but easy to forget:
Stuck with how to change your research
into your own words?
Before you decide to submit your first
draft, have you given it to a trusted colleague to look over and
get their feedback?
Remember this is your perspective on the
topic; we want to read your ‘voice’, so teach us what you know.
The TrOn team are also available should you
need further support: firstname.lastname@example.org
So you’ve excitedly been gossiping about TrOn
with your friends, but find it hard to explain what it is?
Do they think it sounds more like a movie than
an eLearning website?
Feel the frustration no longer as the latest
initiative from the TrOn team is now available to offer some
helpful interactive tasters of our modules.
The TrOn team will now be adding links to
various sample pages, interactive
activities and even a newly formatted scroll-through module (coming
soon) for punters to try.
These pages will be designed to promote the
most recent modules as well as give you a taste of what our modules
have to offer.
We encourage you to share, tweet and email
these pages with others. Show your fellow trainees who are not yet
familiar with the website and get them hooked on our free online
The What and the
At the International Congress 2015 TrOn
Flash Mob event, trainees teamed up and went head to head in a
competition that got them using the site to tackle questions
relating to the MRCPsych syllabus and then tweeting about it.
To celebrate TrOn now being a
year old, having officially launched at the RCPsychIC 2014, we
decided to test your skill and knowledge of the TrOn modules with
one big TrOn pop quiz – flash mob style. Led by Karl Scheeres (PTC
Chair) and Genevieve Holt (TrOn Trainee Editor) this was presented
like an en masse study session, but with time trials,
charades-style ‘guess the answer’ challenges, and a host of
questions to treasure hunt your way around the TrOn
modules; plus a prize pack giveaway! This included an
interview with Genevieve about the winning team's views on
psychiatry and Trainees Online.
The winning team of four trainees come from diverse backgrounds
and talk about their careers and experience of TrOn:
Amy Allen used TrOn for the first time during
the flash mob, and her first impression was that it is a
well-organised and comprehensive learning resource, that would
offer a useful support for MRCPsych learning.
Amy describes being drawn to psychiatry because it offers the
excitement of cutting edge neuroscience with the challenge of
employing communication skills in a range of clinical
settings. She feels inspired when she witnesses skilled
interactions between clinicians and patients, and finds it
extremely rewarding when a patient and/or their loved ones are
enabled through psychoeducation.
is a higher specialist trainee in general adult psychiatry,
training in Sussex. She is in the process of writing a module
for Trainees Online and has enjoyed exploring other modules on the
site. 'I think it's a fantastic resource for revision - both
for exam purposes, and to keep up to date and consolidate
knowledge. I also think the interactive aspects make it easier to
use and more engaging than more traditional revision strategies and
Sharon believes this is a career choice offering variety and
flexibility, and is especially interested in the potential for
gaining endorsements and undertaking specialist work in areas like
liaison, addictions and early intervention.
She is motivated at work by seeing the benefits that medical,
psychological and social interventions offer mental health
patients. She recalls how supervision influenced her career
choice: 'As an F2 my consultant encouraged me to make visits
and explore different areas of psychiatry. I was just at the point
of choosing whether to specialise in psychiatry or not, and I think
this helped to convince me that it was a good idea.'
Often busy with her young family, Sharon also makes time for
community activities, such as singing in a local choir.
is training to be a forensic psychiatrist, particularly enjoying
working at the interface between mental health and the law.
Outside of work, he is an enthusiastic traveller and has
recently been learning Japanese. He enjoys being able to
make a difference, both through direct patient contact, or through
less direct means, such as teaching or quality improvement
When being supervised as a junior doctor, he has benefitted most
from being challenged and shown areas for improvement; 'I think
that it is vital to have supervisors who are able to make you
question yourself in a supportive way.'
He has contributed to Trainees Online as an author, and
describes having learned a great deal in the process: 'It is a
fantastic resource, which I wish had been in place when I was
studying for the MRCPsych exams!'
Rose-Morris is in her first year of Broad Based
Training, which she was keen to undertake due to the breadth of
experience it offers. 'Medicine seems to be becoming more
complex, with an ageing population and increasing demand on the
NHS. I felt that I wanted to take responsibility for my training to
ensure I had some experience across the range of
In her daily work, she enjoys connecting with people and is
inspired by a desire to learn and the privilege to give something
back at the same time: 'I enjoy working with people and
listening to their stories.'
She remembers positive supervision experiences, for example in
paediatrics and psychiatry, where senior staff were approachable
and made it easy to discuss patients. She used TrOn for the
first time at the flash mob.
by Genevieve Holt - ST5 Psychiatry, Clinical Fellow in
Quality Improvement, East London NHS Foundation Trust
(Published in the PTC Magazine, Registrar, June
Preparing for membership examinations is a major focus of every
psychiatry trainee’s professional development; it is a source of
great anxiety, as well as – eventually - a tremendous sense of
achievement. From my own experience of MRCPsych preparation, I know
how stressful this period can be: struggling to balance work with
out of hours commitments, postgraduate study, and what might be
recognisable as a personal life (possibly in that order of
Alongside clinical training programmes
and MRCPsych courses, there are a variety of learning resources to
help prepare one for membership; everybody who has already got
through the exams will have accrued a list of websites, textbooks,
podcasts, revision guides, banks of mock examination questions and
courses that are handed down from each cohort of trainees to the
next. Most of these materials have not, however, been endorsed by
the Royal College of Psychiatrists, making it difficult for
learners to be confident that their revision choices represent a
good investment of time and money when it comes to exam
It is for this reason that I am thrilled to be involved with
Trainees Online (TrOn), an invaluable resource that the College is
developing for trainees. This series of online learning modules is
being designed to support learners through the process of MRCPsych
preparation, and is free to trainees. TrOn aims to facilitate
access to materials that promote the learning that is required to
be a psychiatrist with membership status. The set of TrOn online
learning modules is an ongoing piece of work that initially covered
basic science topics but is being expanded to include modules for
clinical topics in the exam syllabus as well.
Trainees will be reassured to know that every TrOn module is
checked by the College Examinations Panel for alignment to the
MRCPsych syllabus and examinations. In my opinion, however, the
feature that makes the modules particularly special is that they
are written by people who have recent experience of the MRCPsych
examinations. Your post-membership colleagues are tailoring the
materials to learning needs of pre-membership trainees, capturing
not only the knowledge needed to pass the exams but also the
perspective of a peer learner. Experts in each subject field
scrutinise the content to ensure materials accurately reflect
current knowledge and its application, and content editors format
the modules to create an engaging online interface. The result is
far more than an online textbook; it is the learning experience
every post-membership trainee wishes was available when we took our
As the complement of live modules grows to cover an increasing
proportion of the syllabus, I hope you will find them useful
revision tools for exam preparation, as well as trustworthy
resources for refreshing knowledge and teaching. Once you have
registered to use the modules, the system can generate a list of
modules you have accessed, should you wish to use these in
supervision or to supplement your portfolio as part of your Annual
Review of Competency and Progression. The TrOn team are extremely
keen to learn as we go along, and welcome any comments or feedback
that module users can offer.
Trainees Online (TrOn) is once again going to
be at the RCPsych International Congress in Birmingham, 29 June to
2 July 2015. We are hoping to meet as many delegates as possible:
from trainees who use TrOn modules to prepare for the exams, to
course teachers, to existing and potential authors and
Anyone interested in TrOn is warmly invited to
visit the Online Hub, on the College stand (shared with CPD Online
and Portfolio Online), throughout the Congress. Here, members of
the team will be available to discuss TrOn and to offer
demonstrations of the site.
Our Editor, Stuart Leask, will be
chairing a panel on ‘Getting your message out
there’, 11.50-13.05 on Tuesday 30 June. Each Editor of the
various College journals will be offering their expertise on how to
get published and our very own Trainee Editor, Genevieve Holt, will
be discussing writing modules for online learning resources.
During the Tuesday afternoon tea break (from
4.15pm), the PTC Chair, Karl Scheeres and Genevieve will be leading
TrOn Flash Mob in Hall 10b – pop quiz meets mass
study session. In the spirit of a Flash Mob, we are keeping the
full details guarded until the day but there will be a prize pack
giveaway, opportunities to engage with social media, and questions
and tasks based around the TrOn modules.
We look forward to meeting you at the
Congress. If you have any questions in advance or during the event,
please email email@example.com. And don’t
Are you a post-membership psychiatry trainee interested in
gaining experience in eLearning by joining the Advisory Board of
If so, we would like to hear from you. We are currently inviting
applications for the role of Trainee Editor to work with us on
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome fresh ideas
to this large-scale education project and would encourage
applications from trainees keen to apply their skills creatively to
all aspects of designing and delivering Trainees
Posts for Members page on the College website for a full
description of the role and details on how to apply. The deadline
for applications is 5pm on Thursday 19 June;
shortlisted candidates will be invited to the College for
interviews on Monday 6 July.
Please note: this position is unpaid and will
be shared with the existing Trainee Editor. The term will be one
year, initially, subject to review by the Editor of
Please direct any questions and send applications (500 word
cover letter and CV) to the Editorial Assistant. If you
have any informal enquiries for the current Trainee Editor, please
email Dr Genevieve Holt.
We look forward to receiving your applications.
Please note: the
deadline for applications has now passed.
by Hayley Andrews, author
A medical student attached to my team recently told me that
he’d felt somewhat overwhelmed the previous week when attached to a
Consultant who had expected him to know the names,
pharmacodynamics, side effects and dosing of numerous psychotropic
drugs. He had gone away, and spent hours poring over textbooks,
agonisingly trying to memorise the minutiae about these drugs,
which of course was unnecessary. The end result was a medical
student who became anxious and unreceptive to the information that
he in fact needed to know to help him achieve those objectives laid
out by the medical school’s curriculum to become a competent FY1,
who knew enough about psychiatry to make him a safe
I’m sure this is a familiar feeling to all of
us, both during our medical student years and then our core
training. How much to know? In what detail? When to stop? By the
time we’ve become psychiatry Core Trainees, in many ways the
breadth of what we are expected to know has narrowed down, but the
depth deepened. All of us will look up to Consultants who
experientially of course are by far and away the wisest and most
knowledgeable when it comes to the working expertise of navigating
complex inpatient or outpatient situations that no text book can
teach. But would your Consultant be best placed to advise you
regarding how to prepare for your MRCPsych? Unless they have only
recently become Consultants, many of them will have sat the old
Part 1 and 2 exam, and be unfamiliar with both the MCQ/EMI format
From the GMC there is now a move to promote
buddying/mentoring, particularly at times of transition in order to
prevent burnout and stress; recognising the importance of having a
compatriot who may have just that bit more experience. They can
convey not only explicit knowledge but also perhaps elements of the
hidden curriculum or simply the know-how of the ways to get certain
things accomplished. Perhaps then, those new members of the
college, having recently passed through their core training and
examinations could be the experts our core trainees could draw
Recognising the wealth of knowledge that may
be available within those who have recently attained their
MRCPsych, the Royal College invited new members to become authors
for Trainees Online. This resource, is an online learning forum
which trainees preparing for their MRCPsych examinations can turn
to. The beauty of it is that it is written by those who themselves
have been there, done that and got the T-shirt (or certificate in
this case). Not only that, but this is the only resource that has
been directly developed from the Royal College curriculum before
being reviewed by an expert in the given field and the exams panel
before publication. Moreover, at present it’s free! This is a stark
contrast to the resources available when I was preparing for my
exams, which were costly, often lengthy in terms of reading, I feel
covering more information than was necessary and not quality
The basic sciences syllabus has been
subdivided into chunks or modules, to cover subjects that will be tested in Paper A of the new format
membership written examination, covering the scientific and
theoretical basis of psychiatry. Each module has been written by a
post-membership psychiatrist, the majority of whom are trainees,
and consists of material specifically written to meet the
objectives developed by the author (and approved by the exams
panel) before some MCQs and EMIs to help the learner consolidate
their reading. Each of the modules should take around 1 hour to
complete, hopefully making them something that is accomplishable
after a day at work.
As an author for TrOn, I unexpectedly felt a
strong sense of responsibility for ensuring the content I provided
was accurate and presented in a way that would suit most learners.
I was also acutely aware that amongst my peers I did not want to
get anything wrong! I wrote my module while undertaking a Masters
in Medical Education, I therefore scrutinised what I did both
educationally and in terms of its content. What the process did
emphasise to me was that in this instance (for exam preparation) I
was the expert as to what it was people needed to know, and felt
empowered to say a polite ‘no’ if I felt again like my medical
student example above, that a field expert suggested more detail
should be included. Now that several modules have gone online, I
understand that core trainees are eager for more modules to be
released, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Not only does TrOn help core trainees prepare
for their membership exams, it can be used as evidence of CPD.
Working in this way towards our CPD is something that we will all
of course be expected to do throughout our working lives. The Royal
College already has a successful and varied selection of CPD online
modules and podcasts that Consultants are able to access and use to
contribute to their annual CPD credits. The use of eLearning in
this way allows innovative and up to date materials to be
disseminated widely and increases accessibility. Not only can we
learn now by sitting with a text book in a library, but from an
online module on a tablet, a podcast on our drive home or a Ted
Talk once at home. TrOn in my opinion is helping to start core
trainees on their journey towards their continued development as
higher trainees and consultants. The move from online learning
written by our peers in preparation for exams, to online learning
to ensure our continued development as professionals will become a
natural and seamless transition as development in this way becomes
more and more embedded in our culture.
A space for authors and users of TrOn to discuss the
function of current and future TrOn modules in their
If you are interested in contributing to the TrOn pOst or would
like to write a review of a module please email us at: