Dr Sam Dearman writes national training text for Royal College of Psychiatry

A ground breaking book in the field of psychiatric learning has been published by the Royal college of Psychiatry as their official, national text for training Psychiatrists.  “Passing the ARCP: Successful Portfolio Based Learning” was chiefly written by Cumbrian Dr Sam Dearman who is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Director of Medical Education for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  He felt compelled to write the book after he found a lack of guidance for trainees when he was studying.

Dr Dearman explained:

“A few years ago now the way that postgraduate medicine was taught changed to a portfolio-based, adult learning system. This meant that instead of being mainly classroom and exam  based the emphasis was on learning by experience, so that everything that happened in training was part of the learning experience whether it was good or challenging. However as trainees we had very limited guidance on how to deconstruct and learn from our experience.” 

Dr Dearman added:

“The central theme is around developmentally focused reflection; when you have an experience good or bad you ask yourself and others what went well? What was it about what I did and how I did it that was effective? What were the knowledge, skills and attitudes involved? What could I have done differently?  These reflections would be followed by; next time what will I do differently or more of? What do I need to know or learn following this experience and how will I know that I have improved?

“I started writing the book because it felt like the right thing to do and wish there was something like this when I was training! I am sure my experience as a trainee has helped me write the book- with the knowledge of hindsight. Also I think as my career has progressed from trainee to Consultant to Director of Medical Education part of what I should do is to pass on what I have learned about learning to others.”

The book may also become available for national audiences in the future.