Neglecting Ward Duties


You are an ST3 in trauma and orthopaedics.  You are working in trauma theatre today and a CT2 (John) has come to assist you. In between cases you go to the ward to see a patient and you see one of the F2s working on trauma and orthopaedics looking incredibly busy. They ask you if you have seen John as he was scheduled to be helping them on the ward today.

You return to theatre and find John.

This answer can be answered according to the SPIES framework.

  • Seek information: You should speak to John and determine what he was scheduled for today. He may have been scheduled for theatre and changed due to sickness or staff shortages. It is also possible John is not getting his training requirements.
  • Patient safety: A key theme here is patient safety.
    • If the F2 is busy on the ward important jobs may get neglected
    • In addition the F2/other juniors may get burnt out if the wards are understaffed
  • Initiative: If the F2 is struggling and theatre is covered you should request that John helps on the ward.
  • Escalate: You should advise that John discusses his training needs with his educational supervisor. In addition, you should discuss with the rota co-ordinator and inform them that there appear to be staff shortages on the wards
  • Support: Ensure that the F2 is supported on the ward short term. Support juniors on the ward long term. Support CT2 and others in achieving their learning requirements.