Critical CareHealthcare CommunicationMedical EducationSMACCLessons from elite sport brought to medical training

Lessons from elite sport brought to medical training by Tom Evans

Tom Evans wants to bring lessons from elite sport development and training to medical education.

Caring for the critically unwell is an important and difficult task. So, preparing our people to meet this challenge should be all about excellence. These are all true of sport – and Tom contends perhaps medical training!

Nothing happens quickly in sport. It takes time, often many years.

There are a number of challenging tests along the way for an athlete to reach the pinnacle of representation. So hard are the tests that not everyone will make it to the end.

However, when one does make it, how the performance in those tests to get there has no bearing on how they will perform in the race or on game day. Standards are rigorous because there are no second chances. You do not get another go at the Olympic final.

Elite athletes often only have a handful of coaches during their career. Coaches are accountable for the performance of their athlete and talent will not rise on its own. Tom contests the medical training should look more like training for elite performance in sport.

He tells the success story of the Great Britain Olympic Team and how they managed to increase their gold medal tally from a single gold in the 1996 Games to 29 by the London games just sixteen years later. This was done by targeted spending by developing coaching and developing systems to identify and subsequently develop talent.

Too often, the structures and pressures that define medical training focus on competence rather than excellence. Competence is measurable. It can logged, assessed, and can be applied across big organisations. But aspiring only to competence limits us – our patients need more.

So can we learn from how other high-performance organisations train? For Olympic teams, aiming for competence just isn’t good enough. These organisations develop their athletes over many years – equipping them, ready to deliver an excellent performance under pressure.

Successful coaching relationships operate on an individual level. They are long-term. They are flexible. And they are measured not by exams or assessments, but by whether the person being coached can perform in the real world.

Join Tom and discover why he believes the paradigm should shift from medical trainers to medical coaches and how we should strive not for competence but excellence.

Lessons from elite sport brought to medical training by Tom Evans

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Tom Evans