2010 Curriculum

Published: 28/09/2020

Annex A - Professionalism in medical practice

Assessment method decode
A Anaesthesia Clinical Evaluation Exercise [A-CEX]
C Case Based Discussion [CBD]
D Direct Observation of Procedural Skills [DOPS]
E Examination
I Intensive Care Medicine Clinical Evaluation Exercise [I-CEX]
L Anaesthesia List Management Assessment Tool [ALMAT]
M Multi-source Feedback [MSF]
S Simulation
T Acute Care Assessment Tool [ACAT]


Good Medical Practice decode
1 Knowledge, skills and performance
2 Safety and quality
3 Communication, partnership and teamwork
4 Maintaining trust


Professionalism and common competencies in medical practice

It is the view of the College that the affective competencies for learning do not relate to particular stages of training; they should be developed and followed throughout practice, both during training and post-CCT. Thus, the professional attitudes, behaviours and common competencies listed are those expected of all doctors throughout their professional practice and, as a result, there are no changes to the competencies over the years of training; inevitably some of the descriptors are more specific to the specialty of anaesthesia, intensive care and pain medicine. Whilst this section identifies the specific professionalism and common competencies expected throughout training, they are also embedded in the clinical units of training at all levels, principally as demonstrated within skills though, where more appropriate, they have been listed within the knowledge sections; as such, they will be expected to be included within the assessments of clinical training.

Twelve domains have been identified covering professionalism and common competencies. These are as follows:

  • Domain 1: Professional attitudes

a.    Commitment
b.    Compassion
c.    Honesty and personal integrity
d.    Respect for others
e.    Community
f.     Competence

  • Domain 2: Clinical Practice
  • Domain 3: Team working
  • Domain 4: Leadership
  • Domain 5: Innovation
  • Domain 6: Management
  • Domain 7: Education
  • Domain 8: Safety in Clinical Practice
  • Domain 9: Medical ethics and confidentiality
  • Domain 10: Relationships with patients
  • Domain 11: Legal framework for practice
  • Domain 12: Information Technology
  • Domain 13: Alcohol and other drugs 


  • NB: All competencies annotated with the letter ‘E’ can be examined in any of the components of the Primary or Final examination identified in the respective FRCA examination blueprint on pages B-100 and C-74.
Domain 1: Professional attitudes
Many of the descriptors used in this domain in this section have been taken from CANMEDS [Appendix 5]
a. Commitment


Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D1_01 Undertakes responsibilities with honesty and perseverance A,C,M 1,2,3,4
CC_D1_02 Commits to the importance of obtaining adequate information from patients, relatives and others A,C,D,M,E 3
CC_D1_03 Commits to the principle of keeping full, comprehensible, accurate and contemporaneous written records A,C,M,E 1
CC_D1_04 Commits to the principle of maintaining situational awareness at all times M 1,2,3
CC_D1_05 Commits to a rigorous policy of safety first in all clinical work A,C,M,E 1,2,3
CC_D1_06 Commits to using measures that minimise the risks of cross infection at all times A,C,D,M,E 1,2
CC_D1_07 Commits to the principle of maintaining a timely clinical dialogue with team members during clinical work M 3
CC_D1_08 Commits to maintaining a contemporaneous personal portfolio M 1
b.    Compassion
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D1_07 Sensitive to the emotions of patients  and colleagues – particularly in difficult situations A,D,M,E 3,4
CC_D1_08 Practices compassion by demonstrating effective communication skills by listening, seeking first to reflect and understand before making decisions and taking action A,D,M,E 3,4
CC_D1_09 Seeks forgiveness when appropriate M,E 3,4
CC_D1_10 Demonstrates selflessness when interacting with others M 3,4
c.    Honesty and personal integrity
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D1_11 Accept personal responsibility for the quality and timeliness of work. Can be relied upon to achieve excellent results with little need for oversight M,E 1
CC_D1_12 Values the quality of truthfulness M,E 3,4
CC_D1_13 Commits to honesty in all personal and professional interactions M,E 2,3,4
CC_D1_14 Commits to regular reflection on own standards of medical practice in accordance with GMC guidance on licensing and revalidation M 1,2,3,4
d.    Respect for others
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D1_15 Values what the patient says and their opinions A,C,D,M,E 3,4
CC_D1_16 Sensitive to patients’ concerns and anxieties A,C,D,M,E 1,3
CC_D1_17 Commits to the need to show respect for confidentiality and follows guidance from the GMCs M,E 1,3,4
CC_D1_18 Commits to the principle of providing full information to the patient M 1,3,4
CC_D1_19 Respects privacy, dignity, confidentiality and legal constraints on the use of patient data A,C,M,E 3,4
CC_D1_20 Sensitive to the need to maintain a calm, non-aggressive demeanour even under pressure M,E 3,4
CC_D1_21 Sensitivity in handling patients with cognitive disturbance and/or communication problems M,E 2,3,4
e.    Community
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D1_22 Respects and values the contribution of other healthcare professionals and support workers [nurses, ODPs etc] M 2,3,4
CC_D1_23 Strives to address ignorance, injustice, poverty, racism and bias in personal and professional life and act as patient advocate M 3,4
CC_D1_24 Strives to understand the influence that cultures and beliefs have on patients perceptions of health M,E 3,4
CC_D1_25 Commits to minimising the impact on healthcare from:
  • Globalisation [including climate change]
  • Unnecessary resource usage [environmental and financial] 
M,E 3,4
CC_D1_26 Accepts the importance of good communication with other health professionals M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D1_27 Commits to the role of supporter and advocate for the patient M,E 3,4
CC_D1_28 Commits to facilitating the excellent functioning of professional teams M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D1_29 Commits to the importance of always providing necessary information in a clear, timely way M,E 2,3,4
f.    Competence
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D1_30 Strives for excellence M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D1_31 Commits to the need to show attention to detail M,E 1,2
CC_D1_32 Accepts that it is necessary to have a professional appearance and manner M,E 1,3,4

Sensitive to the need to have appropriate supervision by a more experienced colleague

M,E 1,2
CC_D1_34 Values the quality of calmness under pressure  M,E 1,2,3
CC_D1_35 Appropriate, timely and relevant communication with the clinical team members M,E 2,3
CC_D1_36 Shows commitment to adherence to necessary hospital policies, local and national guidelines relating to workplace behaviour and clinical practice M,E 1,2,3
Domain 2: Clinical Practice
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D2_01 Commits to ensuring comprehensive pre-operative assessment is performed on all patients, taking account of the nature/complexity of both the surgery and the patient M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D2_02 Commits to:
  • Maintaining knowledge of current drugs used in clinical practice relevant to their areas of clinical practice
  • Ensuring accurate and safe prescribing occurs at all times
M,E 1,2
CC_D2_03 Strives to provide high quality clinical care in all clinical situations regularly M,E 1,3,4
CC_D2_04 Commits to safe practice in clinical care in those less common clinical situations M,E 1,2
CC_D2_05 Commits to reflecting on own clinical practice in order to achieve insight and striving to correct deficiencies identified M,E 1,2,3
CC_D2_06 Commits to providing appropriate advice to others who are less experienced regarding clinical management when required M,E 2,3
CC_D2_07 Reflects on own clinical practice in order to achieve insight and:
  • Strives to correct deficiencies identified
  • Seeks learning opportunities and integrates new knowledge into clinical practice
M,E 1,2,3
Domain 3: Team Working
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D3_01 Commits to the importance of being a good team member, working collaboratively, striving for high standards by all M 3
CC_D3_02 Commits to the principle that the patient and their relatives are often equal members of the clinical team M 3,4
CC_D3_03 Commits to demonstrating to others how to work properly as a team M 3
CC_D3_04 Commits to achieving high standards and monitoring compliance to standards by the whole team M 2,3
Domain 4: Leadership
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D4_01 Commits to understanding that the role of a consultant involves leadership in clinical management, service delivery and forward planning M 1,2,3,4
CC_D4_02 Commits to leading by example in utilising the time allocated to clinical sessions effectively without compromising safety M 1,3
CC_D4_03 Commits to being a positive role-model for more junior members of the team including maintaining the highest clinical standards personally and encouraging others to achieve the best M 1,2,3,4
CC_D4_04 Commits to taking the lead where appropriate in dealing with difficulties that have arisen in the clinical care of patients including communicating bad news, participating in clinical review and liaising with managers and dealing with complaints M 1,2,3,4
CC_D4_05 Commits to communicating clearly, promptly and effectively with colleagues by means appropriate to the urgency of the situation [e.g. personal presence, telephone, email, letter etc] and recognising its crucial importance when transferring responsibility for patient care [e.g. at handovers] M 2,3
Domain 5: Innovation
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D5_01 Commits to searching and comprehending medical literature to guide reasoning M,E 1,4
CC_D5_02 Commits to recognising the importance of research [clinical and laboratory] in the development of clinical practice is aware of current areas of research and achieves competence in understanding, and explaining, the methodology and statistics involved C,M,E 1,2,4
CC_D5_03 Commits to the principle of inter-professional cooperation for audit/quality improvement projects  in improving practice M 1,2,4
CC_D5_04 Commits to contributing to quality improvement processes e.g. 
  • Audit of personal and departmental/directorate/practice performance
  • Errors / discrepancy meetings 
  • Critical incident and near miss reporting
  • Unit morbidity and mortality meetings
M 1,2,4
Domain 6: Management [see also specific management unit of training with descriptors for all levels in Annex G]
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D6_01 Commits to the objectives of their team, of their hospital, and to the national planning of healthcare M 1,2,3,4
CC_D6_02 Commits to planning their work efficiently so that they can accomplish the targets they have set themselves and meet institutional objectives M 1
CC_D6_03 Commits to the principle of inter-professional cooperation for audit/quality improvement projects in improving practice M 3
CC_D6_04 Commits to the efficient use of resources and encouraging others to do the same  M 1,2,3
Domain 7: Education [see also specific unit of training with descriptors for all levels in Annex G]
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D7_01 Continuously seeks to improve and update their knowledge and skills, using a variety of strategies, whilst keeping records of learning that are planned and undertaken, reflecting on their outcomes M 1
CC_D7_02 Develops a personal learning network of individuals and organisations including; attending specialist educational meetings and reads specialist journals in special interest areas of practice M 1,4
CC_D7_03 Is able to receive feedback appropriately for the purpose of self-improvement and provides feedback to others when asked M 1
CC_D7_04 Actively participates in the planning and delivery of departmental teaching and training M 1,2
Domain 8: Safety in clinical practice
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D8_01 Commits to the supremacy of patient safety issues in providing an appropriate level of clinical or educational supervision M,E 1,2,3,4

Commits to:

  • Understanding the central role human factors plays in developing a culture of safe practice 
  • Collaborating with all members of the multi-disciplinary team to enhance safety
M,E 1,2
CC_D8_03 Adopts strategies to reduce risk [e.g. the use of the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist] and a willingness to participate in improvement strategies [e.g. critical incident reporting]; acts to rectify error immediately if it is made M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D8_04 Commits to the elements of clinical governance and recognising that it safeguards high standards of care and facilitates the development of improved clinical services M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D8_05 Commits to the importance of local health and safety protocols [fire, manual handling etc] M


CC_D8_06 Commits to keeping abreast of national patient safety initiatives including National Patient Safety Agency [NPSA], NCEPOD reports, NICE guidelines etc M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D8_07 Commits to recognising the roles of regulatory agencies involved in drug use, monitoring and licensing e.g. NICE, CSM and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and hospital formulary committees M,E 1,2,4
CC_D8_08 Commits to the importance of acknowledging mistakes and mishaps and: 
  • Talking to patients about untoward events, apologising appropriately, providing clear explanations, acting with integrity and offering the necessary support
  • Participating in de-briefs with all the staff involved
  • Implementing procedures to effect a full investigation
  • Openness and honesty at all times

The ability to learn from the errors and minimise likely recurrence

M,E 1,2,3,4
Domain 9: Medical ethics and confidentiality
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D9_01 Commits to behaving in accordance with the principles of medical ethics M,E 1,2,3,4

Commits to following the guidance given by the GMC on confidentiality

M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D9_03 Commits to the principle of the Caldicott Guardian and Information Governance M,E 1,2,3,4
Domain 10: Relationships with patients 
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D10_01 Commits to establishing an open and honest rapport with patients and their carers, tailoring language to their needs A,M,E 1,3,4

Commits to encouraging questioning, listening actively and ensuring comprehension by the patient /carers 

M,E 3,4
CC_D10_03 Commits to obtaining informed and valid consent taking account of the patient’s understanding of the issues, answering questions, and considering, where necessary, their mental state and how this may impair their capacity for informed consent M,E 1,3,4
CC_D10_04 Commits to the principle that sensitive communication of bad news is an essential part of professional practice and how it is delivered irretrievably affects the subsequent relationship with the patient M,E 3,4
CC_D10_05 Commits to the principles of an effective apology, which includes explaining comprehensibly to the patient the events leading up to a medical error or serious untoward incident, and sources of support for patients and their relatives M,E 3,4
Domain 11: Legal framework for practice 
Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP
CC_D11_01 Commits to ensuring all decisions and actions are made in the best interests of the patient M,E 1,2,3,4

Commits to understanding the legislative framework within which healthcare is provided in the UK and/or devolved administrations, in particular: death certification and the role of the Coroner/Procurator Fiscal; child protection legislation; mental health legislation [including powers to detain a patient and giving emergency treatment against a patient’s will under common law]; advanced directives and living Wills; withdrawing and withholding treatment; decisions regarding resuscitation of patients; surrogate decision making; organ donation and retention; communicable disease notification; medical risk and driving; Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts; provision of continuing care and community nursing care by a local authorities

C,M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D11_03 Commits to understanding principles for negligence e.g. Bolam, and keeping abreast of changes in the legal framework C,M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D11_04 Commits to cooperating with other agencies with regard to legal requirements including reporting to the Coroner’s/Procurator Officer, the Police or the proper officer of the local authority in relevant circumstances M,E 3,4
CC_D11_05 Commits to preparing appropriate medical legal statements for submission to the Coroner’s Court, Procurator Fiscal, Fatal Accident Inquiry and other legal proceedings M,E 3,4
CC_D11_06 Commits to presenting such material, as is required, in Court and actively supporting more junior colleagues if they are required to present such material M,E 3,4
CC_D11_07 Commits to incorporating legal principles into their day to day practice M,E 1,2,3,4
CC_D11_08 Commits to practicing and promoting accurate documentation within clinical practice M,E 1,2,3,4
Domain 12: Information Technology

Advances in Information Management and Technology [IM&T] have changed, and will continue to change, the way education, training and health care is delivered. To work effectively as a doctor in the NHS a trainee must have a commitment to understanding and utilising this technology. 

Trainees must be able to use information technology effectively in their clinical practice and understand its role in the organisation and planning of services within the NHS. Attainment of the components of the NHS Essential IT Skills programme, NHS ELITE [NHS eLearning for IT Essentials] and NHS Health [NHS eLearning for Health Information Systems], or the relevant parts of the European Computer Driving Licence© [ECDL], may be taken as evidence of acquisition of the skills taught on those programmes. Recommended further reading: ABC of Health Informatics. Frank Sullivan and Jeremy Wyatt. Blackwell BMJ Books, 2006; Guide to Health Informatics. Enrico Coiera. 2nd edition, Arnold, London, 2003

Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP

Commits to being familiar with the systems that they need to use in their everyday practice to acquire and record information about their patients. These systems may include:

  • Patient Administrations Systems [PAS]
  • Electronic Patient Records [EPR]
  • Laboratory and radiology order communication systems
  • Laboratory Information Management Systems [LIMS]
  • Theatre management systems
  • Picture Archiving and Communication Systems [PACS]
  • Radiology Information Systems [RIS]
  • Maternity systems
A,C,D,L,E 1,2,3,4

Commits to the importance of security and confidentiality in using information technology systems

    A,C,D,L,E 1,2
    CC_D12_03 Commits to understanding, and incorporating into practice, issues surrounding data collection and analysis A,D,C,E 1,2
    CC_D12_04 Commits to the central role that data protection and confidentiality protocols play within healthcare A,D,C,E 1,2
    CC_D12_05 Commits to understanding the ways in which data, information and knowledge come together in the development of guidelines, protocols and care pathways C,E 1,2
    CC_D12_06 Commits to accessing, assessing, selecting and applying treatment guidelines, including local adaptations C,D,E 1,2,3,4
    CC_D12_07 Commits to the use of IT systems, such as electronic clinical record systems and electronic drug ordering, as possible ways of contributing to patient safety C,D 1,2,3,4
    CC_D12_08 Commits to keeping abreast of IT developments within healthcare, as a way of improving communication. Patient care and safety C,M 1,2,3,4
    CC_D12_09 Commits to the principle that different media are essential for good communications C,D,E 1,2,3,4
    Domain 12: Alcohol and other drugs

    The use of alcohol and other drugs is widely recognised as a major public health challenge with wide-reaching social and economic consequences. Core competencies that all doctors require to adequately identify and manage patients who use drugs or alcohol, have been incorporated into postgraduate curricula for all specialties. These will help to underpin the attitudes and awareness needed to increase rates of identification and treatment and are a contribution to the wider changes needed to address this major health challenge.

    Competence Description Assessment Methods GMP

    Recalls the recommended limits on alcohol intake

    E,C 1,2

    Recalls / explains the effects, common presentations and potential for harm of alcohol and other drugs

      E,C 1,2,3
      CC_D13_03 Recalls / explains the range of interventions, treatments and prognoses for use of alcohol and other drugs E,C 1,2,3
      CC_D13_04 Recalls / explains the effects of alcohol and other drugs in the unborn child, children and families A,C 1,2,3
      CC_D13_05 Recalls / explains the addictive potential of alcohol and other drugs, including prescribed and over the counter medicines E,C 1,2,3
      CC_D13_06 Demonstrates assessment of alcohol and other drug use, including taking a history and using validated tools A,E 1,2,3
      CC_D13_07 Recognises the wide range of acute and long term presentations involving use of alcohol and other drugs, including but not limited to trauma, depression and hypertension E,C 1,2
      CC_D13_08 Demonstrates management and / or referral where appropriate E,C 1,2,3,4
      CC_D13_09 Demonstrates provision of brief advice on use of alcohol and other drugs A,E 1,2,3,4
      CC_D13_10 Demonstrates confidence and comfort in discussing alcohol and drug use with patients A,E 1,2,3,4
      CC_D13_11 Demonstrates appropriate actions to concerns about own or colleagues use of alcohol and / or other drugs E,C 1,2,3,4
      CC_D13_12 Demonstrates support, empathy and non-judgemental manner without collusion C 1,2,3,4