Virtual preceptorships: Supporting newly qualified Specialists in an online world

Submitted by Jan Ash on Mon, 05/17/2021 - 08:39
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Preceptorship meetings are a fantastic way for newly qualified healthcare professionals to build on the education they received during formal training and continue the learning process. They help smooth the transition from student to Specialist and build confidence in being able to work autonomously – all of which leads to increased quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Due to the nature of the content being delivered during Preceptorships, these meetings have traditionally been run in-person. 2020 and 2021 brought their own set of challenges to the world of face-to-face training, though, and to that end The Corpus sought to bring our skills to bear: enabling seamless virtual engagement and discussion between healthcare professionals around the world.

Everything we do here at The Corpus is geared towards increasing quality of care and improved outcomes for patients. Bringing our expertise to a project like this, enabling newly qualified medical students to continue valuable learning during the pandemic, was a no-brainer.

Phase 1: Planning

The premise was simple: convert what would have been a 3-day face-to-face Preceptorship meeting into a 1-day online meeting.

The first decision made was to spread the content out over two half days. Everyone has heard of “Zoom fatigue” and the phenomenon is certainly real. Sitting in online meetings, listening to didactic lectures for 8 hours is not appealing to anyone – even junior doctors keen to learn! To that end, breaking things up over two half-days and creating down-time between individual presentations is a much better way to keep an audience’s attention.

Generating interest in digital meetings can be a challenge, so to combat hesitancy The Corpus’ Creative team created a series of attractive digital invitation flyers, sent to junior Oncologists taking part. Text was kept to a minimum, only the most important information added, clear instructions were given on how to register and bright colours used.

An attractive invitation flyer, whilst an excellent tool on its own, can still be improved on so, in addition, The Corpus created a programme teaser video which was sent directly to the attendees several weeks in advance of the Preceptorship. In the video, lead Faculty member Dr Thorsten Füreder (Vienna) delivered an overview of the exciting things to come and briefly shared some of his insights on topics that would be discussed.

A fully branded, easy-to-navigate landing page, where participants could find more detailed information about the full meeting agenda, timings, Faculty, meeting room links and more, was created in advance of the main event. Participants were directed here after viewing the teaser video and this became the programme’s ‘home base’. Downloadable meeting agendas were also hosted on the page and registrants were able to send in any questions they had ahead of the Preceptorship.

Phase 2: Execution

Then came the day(s) of the Preceptorship itself! Topics that had previously been scheduled to last 2-3 hours on the original face-to-face agenda were broken down into 60-minute segments, with breaks inbetween for participants to be able to refocus. As a result, audience engagement across both half days was excellent and feedback from both the participants and Faculty was very positive.

Post-event The Corpus created a ‘newsletter’, summarising the findings from the meetings, the discussion and questions which arose around each topic. This newsletter was distributed to all of those present at the meeting and, in addition, a more formal report about the outcomes of the Preceptorship was created and sent to the meeting sponsor for internal use.

Phase 3: Post-meeting

Overall, the Preceptorship was a resounding success, with high participant satisfaction across the board, as well as from the Faculty and meeting sponsor. Our first virtual Preceptorship stands as proof that with careful planning, online meetings – even important events such as this – can function extremely well in a digital environment.

The Corpus will certainly be running more virtual Preceptorships in future, based on the success of this pilot initiative. Things for us to take forward to future programmes are:

-    A high level of emphasis on audience engagement from the very outset
-    Demand the same high quality of materials for distribution, even for a digital event
-    Create a programme and an event that makes the audience feel like you are invested in their learning

 

If you are interested in exploring the idea of online Preceptorship meetings and discussing the benefits, both to you as a sponsor and to an audience of Specialist doctors, get in touch with us at communications@the-corpus.com or call us on +44(0)20 7428 2903.

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The Corpus recently ran a 100% online preceptorship programme supporting newly qualified Oncologists – just how successful was it?

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Jan Ash

Business Development Manager

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