Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Defining non-technical skills in doctors

Defining the non-technical skills required by newly qualified doctors in managing acutely unwell patients

Principal applicant: Edward Mellanby


Evidence confirms that newly qualified doctors are not adequately prepared in managing acutely unwell patients.

‘Non-technical skills’, such as situational awareness, decision making and teamwork, are recognised as behaviours that are vital for delivering quality performance particularly in these time critical emergencies. Research has improved our understanding of these skills within the aviation industry and some postgraduate medical specialities. However, they are currently poorly defined in this context and thus difficult to teach effectively.

This project will define these skills in a way that will guide future teaching and assessment. Mixed methods of research will be used to develop a valid and comprehensive taxonomy of behaviours that are required by our undergraduate medical students. The tool produced by this research will be used to refine the curriculum, to facilitate targeted assessment and feedback and to evaluate teaching.

We believe that this will be vital to adequately prepare our students to begin work as junior doctors and ensure they are competent to deliver high quality patient care.

Final report

You can download the final project report below: