Professional Support and Wellbeing Service
The Professional Support and Wellbeing Service is dedicated to helping doctors, dentists and pharmacists across the Thames Valley fulfil their career potential. They are a group of case managers and coaches who put trainee support and wellbeing at the heart of what they do.
The PSW have just expanded the wealth of services they offer to include enhanced career development and exam support as well as coaching for wellbeing.
Personal career guidance to help trainees develop their career or discuss career dilemmas. The services include specialist support for those with health or disability problems.
Performance and exam support
For example trainees needing some support with confidence, communication skills, stress
There is also a specialist exam support service with new specialist dyslexia support
Individualised specialist input for careers, exams and mental health concerns
How to Refer to the PSWS
One of the PSWS team will meet you if you’re wondering about your career direction, if you’ve hit a rough patch, or need help preparing for the next stage. Our support is free to doctors, dentists and pharmacists in training posts or programmes in the Thames Valley Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (PGMDE – Oxford Deanery) area. Standard fees apply to those not in PGMDE training.
Map of Services
Common PSWS referrals
- Development of self-confidence.
- Support in dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of medicine.
- Organisational skills development needed to support completion of workplace-based assessments and/or clinical workload.
- Supporting trainees working towards finding balance in their life.
- Developing insight into working with colleagues and teams.
- Support in recognising the impact of cultural and communication differences.
- Development of learning skills and exam skills, both written and oral.
- Managing exam anxiety, particularly following exam failure(s).
- Support during challenging periods of training following specific incidents, personal or professional.
Coaching requires that the coachee is ready to make decisions and follow through on their plans towards the goals set. This is often not the case for those currently suffering from stress, depression or anxiety and so mental health support should be sought first. A number of mental health support services are linked on our formal support page. Coaching is often useful for those looking to return to work after a period of ill health, so it is common for a PSWS referral to be made as the individual returns to work.
The PSU helped me with confidence, and I am now more aware of what action I need to be taking as a new registrar in my specialty to achieve a better work:life balance.”
“The PSU exceeded my expectations and helped me to draw a line under a challenging year.”
“It was a very professional service and unlike any other guidance I have received throughout my career. It should be widely available…I am sure there are many others who could benefit.”
The PSWS provides personal coaching/mentoring for doctors or dentists who self-refer or are referred. The PSWS provides guidance and workshops to help educators manage performance issues in trainees, and also collaborates with trainers to provide personal coaching/mentoring for individual trainees that need additional support to improve their performance.
The performance support service is also available to employing Trusts and Responsible Officers in the Thames Valley who can engage one of our coach/mentors to help doctors and dentists not in PGMDE training posts or programmes get back on track following local investigation, NCAS or GMC assessment. The PSWS is also available as a source of information and advice to employers and Responsible Officers in the Thames Valley.
Meet The Team
The PSWS consists of Dr Haido Vlachos (Associate Dean for Professional Support; and Director of the PSWS), Dr Richard Stevens (Associate Director of the PSWS), and a team of PSWS coaches and mentors, assisted by our support manager.
The PSWS coach/mentors include senior Thames Valley consultants and GPs with extensive educational experience who have been trained to:
provide individual support for medical and dental careers
advise and support educators and employers, including responsible officers, in addressing doctor’s and dentist’s performance
facilitate workshops on:
supporting doctors and dentists with performance improvement needs
More details of the coaches on the PSWS website
Dr Haido Vlachos
Associate Dean for Professional Support HETV and Director of the PSWS
Dr Richard Stevens
Associate Director and Senior Coach of the PSWS
NEW: Speed Coaching from PSW
Many people are not sure what coaching involves and these 10 minute speech coaching sessions give you the opportunity to find out!
We believe that coaching can be of benefit to all professionals and hope that these taster sessions may encourage people to use and benefit from the service.
How would a coaching session run?
We have a team of coaches that can set up coaching sessions for educators and medical, dental and pharmacists in training. We want the session format to suit you and your team and can work with you to arrange this, potential options include:
A speed coaching session as part of a regional teaching session. We could do a brief introduction to coaching, then all participants would have the chance to try coaching for themselves
At an educator training day, to familiarise all educators what coaching involves to help them signpost trainees to coaching
At leadership training days, we could offer specific leadership focused speed coaching
At induction, we could offer drop-in speed coaching during the day
Each delegate has a one-to-one coaching session of 10-15 mins max
Brief introductions and contracting (confidentiality, clarification re role of coach / coachee, etc.)
Coachee presents the focus for the coaching conversation (a challenge, dilemma, aspiration, etc.)
Coach supports coachee in gaining clarity
Coachee summarises where they are up to in their thinking, what has struck them /resonated with them the most etc.
Coach encourages coachee to identify next steps / actions they would like to take
Coachee records 2-3 three key points they wish to remember / act on
Current Zoom Format
30 mins - Whole group: Introduction to coaching
60 mins (depending on the size of the group) - Speed coaching session (10-15 mins max) with PSWS coaches in Breakout Rooms
30 mins - Whole group back into Main Room: coach led reflection time, concluding remarks and feedback