Trainees FAQ’s

The Thames Valley Professional Support and Wellbeing Service (PSWS) is pleased to offer a broader range of services that trainees can access directly.

Please see below the link to access our Wellbeing Hub Website where you will find presentations of what we have to offer in the PSWS.

What is the PSWS?

We are a group of 18 coaches and case managers with a variety of skill sets and experience working with trainees and educators. The majority of our coaches are medically trained, and therefore very familiar with the medical education system. Our coaches have skills to support trainees with professional and career development. We also help with exam support and career dilemmas. We also support educators to help you during training.

The PSWS is funded by the deanery (HEE-TV) and is free at the point of use for postgraduate medical, dental and pharmacy trainees.

We offer support to trainees who may need additional help, and also offer coaching for professional development and excellence where training is going well.

Take advantage of the PSWS, this is not a free service after you’ve completed training!

I am progressing well in my training, is the PSWS able to help me?

The PSWS offers a wide range of support. We commonly provide support individually to those who would like to improve factors like:

1. Confidence and assertiveness at work

2. Enhancing team working skills

3. Challenging poor professional behaviour in others

4. Developing as a leader/ trainer/ advocate

5. Work/ life imbalance

We also offer additional wellbeing services that complement other NHS services;

– Survive and Thrive Wellbeing (a bespoke whole day group experience for all the trainees within a particular training programme)

– We can contribute to regional training programmes with sessions on;

i. Having difficult conversations with patients and colleagues

ii. Managing exams and your own wellbeing

iii. Taster of coaching though speed coaching sessions

– Look out for our online yoga and Pilates sessions!

– Trainees4Trainees is run by the PSW trainee improvement fellow

I am finding it hard to get through my exams, how can you help?

We have a range of dedicated coaches who provide exam support. Exam failure can occur for a wide range of reasons which we would explore with you. We recommend that you and your educator (AES) consider referral to the PSWS. Our case managers will meet with you to explore what the potential challenges might be for you. Some trainees may benefit from coaching on verbal presentation skills, others may benefit from strategies to help with coping under pressure or strategies and a small group may benefit from screening for dyslexia. The case manager will work with you to identify what approach would be most helpful.

How can I access the services myself?

We welcome trainees to contact us themselves for the following:

• Coaching support for wellbeing

• Career Dilemma

• Career Development

• Exam support at any stage

• To improve communication skills

• Online Yoga

• Medic Support

You can self- refer to the Psychology service funded by HEE-TV and hosted by Oxford Health. It offers cognitive behavioural therapy to help with work stress, anxiety and depression. It is confidential and the deanery/your educators won’t be informed.

Tel:01865 901 000


Please contact us for an initial consultation and we will help you to access the support that best suits your needs. or 01865 932088.

Our confidential inbox is monitored daily by an experienced case manager – response time within 5 working days.

Referral forms and further services information on our website here

Is coaching the same as counselling?

Coaching works more with explicit and mutually agreed objectives. Success is defined by changes in behaviours, as well as insights and understanding. Counselling is “the process of assisting and guiding clients, especially by a trained person on a professional basis, to resolve especially personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties.

Coaching and counselling share some techniques but coaching is not therapy, while counselling is a therapeutic intervention.

PSWS services works through coaching. Medic support is a counselling/therapeutic service

If I refer myself, will you tell the educators in my specialty programme?

Often it is useful for trainees to discuss their concerns with their educators, particularly when it comes to career choice concerns. However, if there has been no educator involved in the referral, we will not inform them without your permission.

If my educator refers me, how are they involved going forward?

If your educator refers you, the educator will be invited to an initial 3-way meeting or discussion with the coach and you, either electronically or in person in order to shape the focus of the coaching and agree what success would look like. The coach will then contact them again midway through the agreed number of sessions to provide a brief email update and invite them to make any further comments. The service is confidential, any coaching information that is shared with your educator will be only with your consent.

Where is this based – can I just go along?

The PSWS office is based at Chancellor Court, Oxford Business Park South.

Meetings with our case managers and coaching session can take place face-to-face or virtually. Face-to-face coaching venues are arranged by mutual agreement and convenience and can include Chancellor Court.

If I don’t get an outcome 1 at ARCP, will I automatically be referred to the PSWS?

No, there is no ARCP outcome that necessitates a mandatory referral to the PSWS. But, any outcome that is not 1 or 6 should prompt careful consideration of the issues and whether PSWS support could be helpful. Many trainees with an outcome 1 at ARCP may also still be referred or self-refer to the PSWS.

Does this go on my training record? Will it hamper my career progression?

In many curricula and throughout your consultant career, the GMC highlight the importance of developing skills around professional practise and wellbeing, and this can be documented through engagement with the PSWS.

If you have been referred by your educator, it is often a good idea to document your engagement with the PSWS through a report or reflection. This is actually viewed extremely positively by the ARCP panel as part of progress toward being both a good clinician and a well-rounded professional.

I am really worried about returning to work after having been shielding or away for the last few months- can you help me?

We provide dedicated coaching on supported return to training. We can work through strategies that may empower you to manage this transition.

This is part of the SuppoRTT package, further information here