I’ve recently had my yearly appraisal so though it would be a good topic to share with you all. I’ve been qualified for 3 years now (!) so I’ve had my fair share of supervisor meetings in that time. It’s been a roller-coaster in terms of personal development this last year thanks to Covid, but hopefully this year will be better. Read on and get to grips on what you need for a beneficial and successful annual appraisal.
Let’s start with the paperwork. The documents you need to prepare for your appraisal will differ depending on where you work. My Trust has a specific appraisal document that everyone, PA or not, has to fill in and be discussed with your appraiser. The general gist of the document is looking at what goals you set out at your previous appraisal, whether you’ve managed to achieve them or not, and what goals you want to set out for the next year. It also looks at aspects of work that you’ve enjoyed, as well as aspects of work you may not have enjoyed. Make sure to check if there is something similar already set out for you in your workplace. I’d advise having it all prepared prior to your appraisal meeting as this will show your appraiser how organised you are and make the meeting run smoother, win-win.
Other things your supervisor may want to check is your registration with the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR). They may also want to check that you’re up-to-date with your continuing professional development (CPD), which is a requirement of remaining on the PAMVR. These details are often kept in a portfolio, of which you can find more guidance here https://www.fparcp.co.uk/professional-development/fpa-materials. Click on the document named ‘Personal and professional development toolkit for the physician associate’ to find out how to organise your own portfolio. They also have ‘Appendix 1 – Portfolio including resources’ and ‘Appendix 2 – appraisal document’.
Luckily in my Trust, we have an online portfolio set up which we can upload e-forms of case-based discussions (CBDs), mini-consultation evalutation exercise (miniCEX), direct observational procedural skills (DOPS), feedback and more. I wouldn’t say my portfolio follows that guidance very strictly, but it is something you may want to look at if you don’t have a platform already set up for you. You can also use platforms such as https://www.matrixeducation.co.uk/matrix-appraisals which is free for your first appraisal!
As well as guidance on portfolios, The FPA website contains several other guidance documents for PA and their employers. They’re not always easy to find but I’ve done the hard work for you! For PAs in their first year of employment, or waiting to start their first job, get familiar with the following. Head to https://www.fparcp.co.uk/professional-development/fpa-materials where you’ll see a document names ‘First Year Post Qualification Guidance for Physician Associates and Physician Associate Employers’. Simply scroll to page 3 where you’ll see the ‘Suggested Timetable for Reviews and Appraisals’ It looks like this:
The timetable gives you a guidance as to how often to meet your supervisor and which tasks to complete for those meeting. The mini-cex/DOPS forms can also be found on that main page.
When it comes to thinking of what goals you want to achieve, be realistic and specific. This is the NHS after all hun and I’ve learnt the hard way that things, take, time. Your seniors are busy people, they’ve got things to do and people to see, so don’t be disheartened if you’re not the centre of their universe. It’s really important to think about a skill/niche that hasn’t already been well established in your department but can bring value. That’s where you swoop in and say ‘I want to do that’. As well as having bright ideas, you need to be clear on the things you need to achieve this. It’s easy to say ‘I wanna do PICC lines’ and forget about the training, the potential policy changes, the funding etc. A year goes by really quickly and before you know it, another appraisal is coming up. It’s definitely possible to achieve though! Just make sure you’ve got the right support in place from the get-go.
Whatever you decide with your supervisor, get it down in writing. That could be the Trust paperwork or a job plan etc. Either way, you may need proof to show a rota-master, or another member of staff that you’ve got the go-ahead to attend a clinic/be off the ward/attend training/run an audit. In busy departments like mine, you’ve got be a bit of a fighter and ensure you don’t just get sucked into service provision. I’ve recently been allocated a new supervisor and he’s very keen for my personal development so I made sure he signed the dotted line. Now I can just whip out my job plan, ensure I’m meeting my goals and have my personal development time protected. I’m hoping this post keeps me accountable over the next year haha.
If you’ve got your appraisal coming up, hopefully you’ve got a better idea of how to ace it. If in doubt, it’s sure to be on the FPA website so have a good look. Now go out there and achieve those goals!
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