Equality and Diversity
They told you that you didn't belong.
Yet. Here. You. Are.
Introducing 50 Faces of Surgery, the interview series from the Association of Surgeons in Training.
If you can see it, you can be it. #HereIAM
Surgical trainees have a reasonable expectation to feel valued in their workplace. Previous reports proved that poor behaviours including bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment existed in national health system. We understand that it might be difficult sometimes for a trainee to speak up. Therefore, the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT)aimed to conduct a survey among council members to identify the need of support strategies and of development of an anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment guidance for trainees who experienced any type of misconduct or poor behaviour at workplace.
Our data was collected among executive and council members on questions related to any experienced, witnessed, or reported poor behaviours including bullying, discrimination and harassment. Our survey included different representations from all surgical subspecialities, level of training and from different regions in the UK and Ireland. Most of the trainees who experienced or witnessed poor behaviours did not report the incidents. Our study identified the strong need of anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment guidance for trainees to be able to report any poor behaviours at the workplace. The guidance was created based on our council survey results (figure 1). Our new developed standardised guidance will offer trainees support for reporting misconduct, and we envisage that its use will play a role in eliminating misconducts in surgical training.
1. El Boghdady M. The elephant in the operating room: calling out bullying and discrimination in surgery. Bull R Coll Surg Engl 2023; 105: 28–31.
2. El Boghdady M. The development of anti-bullying, discrimination and harassment guidance: a survey among the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT) council members. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2023 Nov 6. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2023.0071. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37929586.
The Association of Surgeons in Training was established in 1976 and is one of the largest surgical speciality associations in the UK.
We represent all twelve surgical specialities at both core and higher surgical training levels and with trainees from medical students to senior registrars.
We represent the views of surgical trainees on the councils of the JCST, GMC, Examination Boards, Educational Bodies and > 60 committees.
We are run by trainees, for trainees, to promote excellence in training and therefore we are committed to ensuring that all members are treated equally and that at the forefront of all our decision making is the necessity to promote and ensure Equality Diversity and Inclusivity (UK 2010 Equality Act).
We value cultural diversity, believe in treating people fairly, impartially and without bias; and are committed to policies, strategies, and behaviours that promote an inclusive surgical community.
• To reduce barriers to accessing our educational activities.
• To improve the representation of those with protected characteristics including minority ethnic, disabled and disadvantaged individuals; those that face financial hardships and discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, civil or religious union, pregnancy and parenthood.
• To ensure our participant profile is representative of the surgical societies in which we work.
• Regular monitoring of our demographic data and activities.
• Ensuring feedback from all activities is reviewed, acted upon, and equality targets are set.
• Annual review of activities and transparent public report.
• New process for selection of faculty and speakers aiming for 50:50 gender representation and 1/3rd under-represented groups.
• Celebration activity for key calendar dates such as 8th of March International Women’s Day.
• To use our platforms to keep equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the forefront of the conversation, liaising with and ensuring accountability of the four surgical colleges and other organisations.
• To be cautious in the use of our platforms to avoid unconscious bias and discrimination.
• To share our research and developed guidance about anti-bullying, discrimination and harassment, and be the voice of support for trainee victims.
• Work in direct contacts with Women in Surgery (WinS), Pride in Surgery Forum (PRiSM) and the EDI group at RCSEng.
• A review process for media and advocacy activity, through the ASiT Equality and Diversity working leads.
• Annual review of social media activity.
• A support platform for trainees who experience bullying, discrimination, or sexual harassment.
• Pursuing a collaborative approach to good EDI practices.
• Developing EDI workshops for our trainee members.
• Seeking representatives from diverse backgrounds.
• To ensure national council election processes are transparent and blinded.
• To ensure that there is a diverse representation on ASiT council and the Executive.
• To perform an internal review of our council and roles annually.
• To work with our trainee speciality associations to ensure council seats are elected through fair processes.
• Published election review reports.
• Blinded review process and EDI training for national elected council positions.