Creating a bespoke career in paediatrics

The Assessment Subgroup of the LSP Trainees Committee is now merging with the Curriculum Delivery Subgroup, and are going out with a bang. We have presented an LSP day on how to develop a portfolio career, with a non-linear approach to paediatric training. We’re hugely grateful to everyone who contributed on the day- we heard from some really inspirational consultants and trainees who’ve combined their passion for clinical paediatrics with special interests and careers in academia, public health, teaching management and the law.

Opportunities in academic research

John Anderson, Professor of Experimental Paediatric Oncology, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, discussed his atypical career progress to his academic research, with advice to follow your dream, take risks and push boundaries, even when the system makes that challenging.

Rossa Brugha (ST8) described some of the barriers to paediatric academic medicine, including self-doubt. He explained how he used the amazing people he worked with, and their colleagues, to seek out opportunities.

Charlotte Barker (ST2) showed how to use the current integrated academic training pathway and the standard ST1-8 training programme to your benefit, and highlighted the range of activities available in LSP for those interested in research in and out of program.

Embracing public health

Anna Battersby (ST7) talked about how she values the training program which how allowed her to integrate GRID training in Community Paediatrics with ongoing placements and projects at Public Health England. She explained the benefit of building a “Positive Person Portfolio” and establishing great teams and networks.

Ronny Cheung, Consultant Paediatrician at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Clinical Advisor to Public Health England, discussed how to develop an interest later on, and use opportunities and people to help keep you interested and engaged. He looked at how to accelerate and decelerate of your training to suit your professional interests and personal life.

Incorporating medical education

Luci Etheridge, Consultant Paediatrician and Honorary Senior Lecturer at St Georges Hospital, London, described the importance of finding what you enjoy most in your career and prioritising that. She explained that all experience counts; say “Yes” to opportunities early in your career and but be strategic later on.

Emma Parish (ST6) gave an overview of medical education from a trainee’s perspective- how it can be your career or just part of your career and its role in our practice from national education roles to its impact on the shop floor.

Integrating healthcare management 

Bob Klaber, Associate Medical Director and Consultant Paediatrician, Imperial College Healthcare Trust, looked at the ways to use your daily work to examine the 3 core aspects of leadership and management; self, the team and the system. He described the importance of curiosity as well as maintaining authenticity and your core values.

Edwin Selvaratnam (National Medical Directors Clinical Fellow) discussed how he developed his understanding of leadership and management without formal training, before taking up a formal role through the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM). He explained the value and meaningful contribution clinicians can make in leadership roles.

Susannah Pye (ST5) described her drive for understanding of the wider NHS her lack of understanding of the structure of the NHS overall had led her to her current role at the FMLM. She looked at how this has changed her perspective and her passion for advocating child health at a local and national level.

Opportunities in medical law

Joanne O’Sullivan, a Partner at Kennedys Law LLP, discussed the Hadiza Bawa Garba case, picking out some key factors relevant to our daily practice. This included the importance of getting your statement right the first time, including for the initial Serious Incident investigation – you can and should get support if needed, from MPS/MDU and your in-house hospital legal team.

David Robinson, Consultant Paediatrician, Queens Hospital Romford, then described his experience as an expert witness. He talked about the importance of a thorough history and making a diagnosis and used extracts from his new book on paediatric forensic evidence, looking at different elements of non-accidental injury.

Key Themes

Even though everyone has a different career path, much of the advice is applicable to range of different interests. For those of you who couldn’t be there, here are some of their words of wisdom:

  • It’s ok to follow a non-linear career path. In general, we have to work within the training program but the LSoP tries to support trainees as much as possible. Think creatively about how you use OOPs, less than full time training or accelerating your progression to support your interests.
  • Going off the treadmill can be scary but it’s ok to be brave and take risks
  • Ask around for learning opportunities and contacts- listen to what your colleagues are doing and create your own networks
  • If you can, find a mentor who can advise you (and think about your role mentoring others, now and in the future)
  • Talk to your Educational Supervisor and TPD about where you want your career to go, both when you’re feeling motivated but also when you’re feeling directionless and seeking advice
  • Early in your career say “Yes” to everything, later in your career you need to be more strategic
  • You get something from every opportunity, even if it doesn’t lead where you expected- there are no crystal balls
  • Don’t underestimate yourself, your skills or the impact you can have
  • Think about what motivates you and what you enjoy about your job
  • Putting patients first is paramount- but this can be achieved on big scale through research, public health, leadership roles and training colleagues of all stages and disciplines
  • None of this requires brilliance- it just requires dedication and hard work!

 

Here are some of the resources recommended by our speakers:

Research and Academia

Informal academic mentoring (no prior academic involvement needed!)

 

Public Health

 

Education

 

Management

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