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Unit information: Supporting the Struggling Professional (Unit 233) in 2015/16

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Unit name Supporting the Struggling Professional (Unit 233)
Unit code MEEDM0012
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Liz Spencer
Open unit status Not open

PG Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals



School/department Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The identification, support and management of health professionals in difficulty are critical issues in today’s NHS and clinicians need a systematic approach to dealing with these challenging and often complex issues. Those in key educational and managerial roles also need a good conceptual understanding of the antecedents, context and relevant psychological and educational evidence base enabling more effective and proactive management of struggling professionals.

On a practical level the unit aims to provide general principles and frameworks for supporting the struggling professional. At a conceptual level it aims to explore the evolving theory and practice relevant to supporting the struggling professional.

The scope of the unit is intended to be relevant to those supporting struggling professionals at a variety of levels including those in training, those not in training and students.


The unit aims to provide both a framework for and an exploration of the evolving theory and practice relevant to supporting the struggling professional.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students will be able to:

  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of a struggling professional
  • Discuss the causes and contributory factors that lead to professionals struggling
  • Explain the role(s) expected of key educational and managerial personnel in respect of a struggling professional
  • Apply knowledge of relevant educational/psychological/other theory to the issues surrounding struggling professionals and how they are supported and managed
  • Analyse the levels of concern, structures for support and remediation in a workplace
  • Conduct more productive discussions with struggling professionals
  • Use effective feedback and train others in the use of effective feedback
  • Evaluate the use and appropriateness of documentation

Teaching Information

The teaching methods will comprise a mix of pre-course reading, e-learning and face to face opportunities including discussion, seminar and small group activities.

Assessment Information

The assessments will together comprise 4,000 words or equivalent in other media

Formative assessment: feedback on workshop tasks and other activities during the unit.

Summative assessment: a project report based on the application of the content of the unit.

Reading and References

  • Paice E, Orton V and Appleyard J (2006). Understanding Doctors' Performance. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing,: 38–47. 9.
  • NACT UK (2008). Managing trainees in difficulty: practical advice for educational and clinical supervisors, accessed 13/04/2011.
  • West M (2002). How can good performance among doctors be maintained? BMJ 325(7366): 669–670.