Problem: Starting ophthalmic specialty training can be daunting as new basic clinical examination and surgical skills must be acquired before meaningful assessment of patients can begin. No formal clinical induction currently exists with the aim to teach clinical and practical skills to new starters. Aim and objectives: To determine the experience and needs of ophthalmic trainees entering into specialist training. Using this information we developed and implemented a clinical skills training programme for Ophthalmology ST1s. Intervention: Using SMART objectives, PDSA cycles and Chartered Institute of Personnel Development guidance we implemented a clinical skills induction week. Pre-course skills evaluation took place in the form of a questionnaire in order to tailor the course content to the skill level of the group. Course material was made and simulation techniques devised for teaching practical skills. Qualitative data was collected via a pre- and post-course questionnaire. Outcome: All 9 participants rated the course as "extremely useful" it increased their confidence in terms of commencing clinical ophthalmology. 100% of participants felt that this course should be delivered to new ST1s. All participants reported improved confidence in managing ophthalmic emergencies and their clinical skills technique. Lessons learned: A sustainable induction programme was implemented tailored to the prior experience and skills of ST1 trainees. All participants felt it improved their confidence and clinical skills prior to commencing clinical activities. Basic clinical skills can be taught in a cost effective manner early on in postgraduate training.
Keywords: ophthalmic clinical skills; ophthalmic training; ophthalmic training needs; ophthalmology run-through training; starting ophthalmology.