Aims: To determine what skills make a good consultant haematological microscopist; to explore how these skills develop during training and to determine whether these skills are maintained following training.
Methods: Twenty consultant haematologists underwent a semistructured interview to explore these issues. The interviews were transcribed and analysed for common themes using the N-vivo analytic package. This provides rich subjective qualitative data as opposed to hard objective quantitative data.
Results: Experience, methodicity and interest were the commonest skills mentioned. However, 25% of interviewees admitted they no longer followed a format when reporting. Interviewees agreed they had passed from a hypothetico-deductive to a scheme-inductive diagnostic reasoning model during acquisition of expertise. Only 20% had undertaken refresher training since becoming consultants, but the majority undertake some peer review of their work.
Conclusions: These skills could form the basis of vocational and revalidation assessments in the practice of haematological microscopy. The elucidation of such skill development can help refine standards and remedial training through the process of ‘deliberate practice’. Finally, the low uptake of refresher courses for established consultants needs serious consideration.
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