Domain 3:

Communication, Partnership & Teamwork

Communications Skills

Communications skills are an important area of performance for all clinicians. This section of the Toolkit offers you the opportunity for exploring and potentially improving your communications skills, but this is NOT a compulsory part of the appraisal process.

However, if you are interested in using one of these tools, you could also consider using this as evidence for Domain 2 as a quality improvement activity.

For more information, please visit Consultation Skills on main toolkit.

Formative observation proforma

This obviously requires a collaborator, preferably one who is trained in the techniques of observation and feedback. However, if no-one is available to you in this role, you may wish to consider trying the technique as part of an OOH doctors' group.

It is better for a small group of you to work on this than to work in pairs: the feedback will be more objective and there is less likelihood that you will avoid giving constructive but possibly critical feedback. Remember, if you decide to undertake work of this type and you are new to it, it is helpful to work on the basic principles:

  1. The observed person is invited to state what went well.
  2. The observed person is invited to state what could have been done differently.
  3. The observer is invited to state what went well.
  4. The observer is invited to state what could have been done differently.
  5. The observed person is allowed to reflect and respond, noting lessons learned.

You may be able to get help from your local postgraduate centre for activities like this, and it is always worth asking.

Approved video

It is unlikely that you will be in a position to set up video equipment, but your OOH service might consider this as a useful educational facility. Many treatment centres already have CCTV, and providing a fixed secure recording system in a consulting room is relatively easy. If a group of you ask for it, this may be provided.

Remember that it is very important to observe guidance on permission and confidentiality.

  • Provide leaflets for patients to explain in advance that the doctor will be asking them for permission to video the consultation for private educational purposes, that it will be treated with strict confidentiality and that it will be destroyed after use
  • Ask permission and ensure a written signature from the patient before recording
  • Confirm at the end of the consultation that the patient is still happy for you to keep a record
  • Make sure that your video is stored securely and erased after use

A sample video consent form is available for download below.

If you want to use video material, make sure you consult with your appraiser first.

Telephone Consultations

Handling requests for advice or help on the telephone is a vital part of OOH work. On most occasions the caller will not be known to the OOH doctor. Accurate, effective and empathetic communications are particularly important. It is also very important to ensure that the outcomes are clearly understood.

Most OOH organisations record all telephone conversations and they provide a rich resource for reviewing skills in this activity.

Observing guidelines on confidentiality, you could:

  • Obtain samples of your telephone consultations
  • Review them against a structured reflective template
  • Share them with a small study group (preferably facilitated by a trainer with experience of this)
  • Reflect on the feedback you receive

An example of a structured template is available for download below.

Telephone Consultation Review Proforma | File Size: 95 KB | Date Updated: 14/02/2014

Video Consent Form | File Size: 134 KB | Date Updated: 13/02/2014

To be signed by Patients (and anyone accompanying them) before and after consultation

This page was last updated on: 18/08/2016