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Learning methods

The majority of the five years in training is spent in work based experimental learning, which incorporates learning from practice, concentrated practice and learning with peers. However, during phase 1 a greater proportion of time is spent in academic study and programmes will vary in how this is distributed across the first stage of training. This period is taken in lieu of formal study leave. Across the five years a registrar would expect to spend up to 150 days in off the job programme education or in independent self directed learning, which may be used for examination preparation, appraisal, feedback and reflection, maintenance of personal logbook or reading.

For more detailed information on the different learning methods see below:

Learning from practice

From early stages of training, registrars undertake guided and supported service work with regular feedback on specific learning outcomes. Registrars, with their supervisors, develop an educational plan through which they identify specific outcomes to achieve and develop and then negotiate and agree work in support of this. Trainees are given examination preparation practice in groups and individually.

Registrars spend the majority of their time in experiential work based learning through delivery of service work closely supervised by their supervisor. Initially this work is focussed around the needs of the population served by a PCT/Health Board.

Registrars will apply their academic knowledge to public health problems of increasing levels of complexity and weight working both in an analytical capacity, formulating solutions and presenting results.

The registrar will shadow their supervisor or other practitioner, providing elements of the overall task. With increasing responsibilities and independence, the registrar will take the lead for an area of work, ultimately integrating competencies to deliver consultant level practice.

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Concentrated practice

Some learning outcomes are best achieved or consolidated through periods of more focussed, repeated and directed practice which may be possible at any point during training and either in the service setting or by special arrangement.

The training programme director and Deanery STCs determine training placements. Initially these will normally be in a PCT/Health Board and subsequently will take account of educational need and career aims.

The later years of training will allow concentrated practice during a period of consolidation and development of special interests; this may require experience outside the Deanery programme. Concentrated practice is also available as a routine during all phases of training for specific elements e.g. sophisticated data handling and development of major public health emergency management skills. Concentrated practice is also available as a part of a remediation plan.

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Learning with peers

Registrars are encouraged to learn with their peers. Registrars, particularly in the first two phases of training, will generally be placed alongside other specialty registrars. Regional postgraduate teaching opportunities will allow registrars at different phases of training to come together for group learning.

Examination preparation for both parts of MFPH will encourage the formation of self-help groups and learning sets. Self directed registrar groups are also encouraged to meet and work together as a peer group to develop and practice specific skills such as critical appraisal, presentation, on-call debrief etc. Learning sets may be facilitated by public health specialists and senior registrars.

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Learning in formal situations

Formal learning in phase 1 is generally delivered through university based academic courses. In subsequent phases of training there are regional and national opportunities to attend courses and conferences which meet educational needs.

Supervisors and registrars meet regularly on a formal basis to assess progress intraining. Training programmes also offer regional training events which cover elements of the curriculum best learned as a cohort to support service based work (e.g. media handing, safe on-call, reflective writing, etc) and for examination preparation at an appropriate stage in training. Some programmes combine across Deaneries to provide courses for registrars at specific phases of training.

Training programmes link to their local public health CPD programmes/postgraduate meetings which afford opportunities for registrars to present.

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Personal study

Study leave allocation is managed in accordance with Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMeD) principles. During all stages of training, registrars have opportunities for study leave which may be taken as self directed learning to support educational objectives/examination preparation or to attend formal courses in support of their stage in training, special interests and career aims.

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Specific teacher inputs

Supervisors work in settings where, normally, there are other supervisors. While every registrar is allocated a specific educational supervisor, there will be support and input from other supervisors and more senior registrars in that location.

Some supervisors have particular expertise and registrars may either request placements with these individuals or undertake work that links across to them. Some supervisors will be involved in delivery of regional training packages in more formal settings, both to deliver teaching and training in skills and in concepts.

Named academic supervisors provide an academic focus to all elements of the registrars' educational progress including support in examination preparation, maintaining an academic rigour for service work and in encouragement to publish and disseminate their work.

Academic supervisors provide more detailed training support for those registrars pursuing specialist training in academic public health, in effect acting as day to day supervisors for this group. All supervisors are accredited for their training role and fully conversant with the requirements of the curriculum and with assessment method.

Each programme has a representative amongst the body of national examiners for the Part B (OSPHE) MFPH (OSPHE) examination who are able to bring expertise in process and performance to their registrars. The pool of examiners for the Part A MFPH examination is too small to allow this but programmes will have an individual identified to take the lead in supporting a group through this element of training.

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Time spent on learning methods

Time in independent self-directed learning may be used for examination preparation; appraisal, feedback and reflection; maintenance of personal logbook; reading.

Across the five years a registrar would expect to spend up to 150 days in off-the-job programme education or in independent self-directed learning. The remaining time would be spent in experiential learning. However, during phase 1 a greater proportion of time is spent in academic study and programmes will vary in how this is distributed across the first stage of training. This period is taken in lieu of formal study leave.

The remainder of the five years, apart from annual leave, is spent in work based experiential learning which incorporates learning from practice, concentrated practice and learning with peers.

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