This checklist aims to support employers in providing specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors with a smooth transition into their new role and can be used alongside existing induction programmes. The aim is to ensure that SAS doctors are made aware of guidance, resources and tools available to them to support them throughout their employment.
Induction to the organisation
As well as corporate inductions and statutory and mandatory training, it is good practice to tailor all inductions to the individual, taking into account their previous experience and employment. Inviting SAS doctors to a bespoke induction when they start will help them other SAS doctors joining the organisation.
Employers should provide the SAS tutor, SAS lead and mentors with details of all SAS doctors due to commence working at the trust, to allow them to support the induction of new staff.
Inductions may vary locally but could include:
- a clear job description outlining the typical clinical and non-clinical duties of a SAS doctor
- an introduction to and expectations set of the commitment required for appraisal, job planning and revalidation. Doctors entering the SAS grade direct from training may not have experience of annual appraisal, so may need to be supported to participate in these processes.
- key clinical guidelines and employer policies and procedures and an introduction to the SAS tutor/SAS lead
- information on how to access clinical and learning resources
- arrangements for clinical governance (patient safety, clinical errors, clinical risk management, complaints and litigation)
- review of General Medical Council good medical practice guidance
- an introduction to the organisation's freedom to speak up guardian
- an introduction to the values and behaviours of the organisation.
If any induction tools or resource are accessible online, it may be useful to provide SAS doctors with this information ahead of their induction in case they wish to prepare any specific questions.
Induction to the department
All new SAS doctors should receive a formal introduction and orientation to their department/ward, to ensure a smooth and supported transition into their new role. This could include, but is not limited to:
- a departmental tour that highlights key areas and guidance on use of equipment, including electronic platforms to allow them to carry out their role effectively
- an introduction to key members of the team including the ward manager/matron and the wider multi-professional team
- clarification of their duties, job planning and appraisals that will have been introduced in the organisation induction
- a clear explanation of what is expected of them within their role, including arrangements for out-of-hours working and what to expect when on call
- an explanation of departmental arrangements for handover
- information on rotas including study leave, annual leave, sickness reporting and swapping shifts with peers
- an explanation of how to raise a concern about patient safety and the escalation process for when a patient is deteriorating
- supervision arrangements.
Induction to communications
All new SAS doctors should receive information about how to access organisation and department information. You may wish to:
- familiarise your employee with the staff intranet and provide a brief introduction on how to navigate the system and where to find key information
- make new SAS doctors aware of any organisational or staff network groups that they may wish to join.
Induction to development
Sustaining good quality services to patients requires doctors to be up to date and fit to practise. SAS doctors need access to development opportunities and resources in order for them to fulfil their roles.
As part of induction you may wish to:
- introduce them to the SAS charter and SAS development guide (PDF), describing what actions can be taken to ensure best practice is applied to their development
- provide information on how they can gain access to an e-portfolio
- encourage them to link with relevant medical royal colleges and take up associate membership, for support specific to their specialty
- explain about tax relief for professional fees
- highlight where they can find out about development opportunities in the department/ward and wider organisation, as well as information on research and audit opportunities and how to access careers advice and support
- explain the process on how to apply for study leave and what support is available in terms of time and funding
- introduce personal development plans at induction and monitor progress throughout their employment, showing commitment to developing SAS doctors' careers.
Buddying is a great way to support new SAS doctors and to help them settle into their new role.
You may also wish to consider establishing a peer support network for SAS doctors, which will allow them to meet other doctors across the organisation and not just in their immediate work area.
Allocating a supervisor and/or mentor can also help provide SAS doctors with ongoing support and guidance throughout their employment. Mentoring can be an effective way of fostering the professional and personal growth of a developing SAS doctor and where recognised mentoring courses are available, they should be identified on appointment. Mentors should be assessed in the same way as educational supervisors.
Individuals may need further support after their immediate induction, and it is advised that employers follow up with SAS doctors three and six months after having taken up post.
New starters can also help improve your induction process. By gathering feedback on the experience of induction from new starters, you will ensure that staff are receiving everything they need.