Purpose: To describe the contents and results of a series of annual fora for senior psychiatric trainees in New Zealand. These fora were designed to address a perceived gap in the training of psychiatrists in non-clinical skills.
Procedures: The contents of the fora are described, and qualitative and quantitative feedback from participants is reported, These data were gathered from participants for the purposes of quality improvement, using questionnaires designed for this setting. Issues addressed included participants' self-ratings of gains in knowledge, as well as their ratings of tutor effectiveness, the forum overall and the extent to which their needs were met. Qualitative feedback included suggestions for improvements and identification of key learning gains.
Main findings: There was an increase in understanding in all topic areas as assessed by the participants. In addition, participants made unanticipated gains in confidence and their sense of empowerment. The opportunity to meet with peers and the increased sense of collegiality were valued. Suggestions for improvements were incorporated into fora held in successive years.
Principal conclusions: Non-clinical skills can be taught successfully to senior trainees in a forum setting, which can also facilitate development of peer support and empowerment. More time for practice and discussion of how the teachers coped with challenging situations would improve the forum. It is recommended that such non-clinical skills also be incorporated into the teaching of senior trainees in the workplace.