Excellent Educational Supervision For the Academic Trainee
Supervising an academic trainee may be a new experience for some trainers and supervisors.
We hope that this section of the website will provide some useful information and advice and ensure that academic trainees benefit fully from both their clinical and academic experiences.
1. Types of Academic Trainee
For an introduction to the Academic Training Pathway - please see www.londonpaediatrics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Academic-Training-Guide-2011.pdf .
As a trainer or supervisor, you are most likely to be supporting Academic Clinical Fellows and Academic Clinical Lecturers during their clinical training.
Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) Typically Level 1/Level 2 Trainees
An Academic Clinical Fellowship offers a combined clinical-academic training programme in which a trainee is given dedicated research time in addition to a normal clinical training programme. Over three years (usually ST1-ST3, also known as ACF1-ACF3) trainees are given 9 months (25% of their training time) for research without clinical commitments. This research project will be within a specific paediatric sub-specialty and linked to a research group and faculty within London. ACFs have the same requirements for clinical competencies as their peers, but less dedicated time in which to achieve them. The aim of an ACF is to ultimately secure funding to undertake a PHD
Academic Clinical Lecturer (ACL) Typically Level 3 Trainees
Academic Clinical Lectureships are posts for trainees who have been awarded a PHD and continue to undertake a higher specialist training programme (such as Paediatric Training). They are awarded by individual Research Institutes after trainee application and interview. Each ACL appointment is unique, but posts are often for up to 4 years, and divide a trainee’s time between clinical and research activities. The aim of an ACL is usually to apply for a Clinician Scientist post or University-funded Senior Lectureship
2. Role of Supervisors
Academic Educational Supervisor
All Academic Trainees will be allocated an Academic Educational Supervisor during their research block, who will normally be their Project Supervisor. Their role will be to support the Trainee in acquiring relevant research skills – including statistics, research governance, writing and literature searching – as well as supporting progress in their chosen research project.
Clinical Educational Supervisor
During their clinical rotations will have a Clinical Educational Supervisor to ensure their other training needs are met.
In ST1, academic trainees will complete 12 months of clinical rotations identical to their peers.
In ST2/ST3, academic trainees will complete 15 months of clinical rotations and 9 months of research without clinical commitments (during which time their Employer will be an affiliated University, and not the NHS Trust). This may be taken as a single block or split up into several shorted periods of time.
During Level 2/3 training, ACLs will have variable clinical commitments according to the terms of the appointment by the Research Institute.
3. Paediatric Clinical Competencies
Academic trainees are first, and foremost, Paediatric trainees. They therefore need to attain the same clinical experience as their non-academic peers but usually in a shorter time period. This requires the trainee to be proactive, forward-planning and organised - for which their Clinical Educational Supervisor can be invaluable.
4. Supervisor Meetings and ePortfolio
Academic trainees use Kaizen and the Progress Curriculum like all other Paediatric Trainees. They will also need to demonstrate additional academic/research competencies, which will be reviewed at ARCP.
In addition to the normal components of any Supervisor meeting, valuable topics to address would include:
- Clinical Experience and Confidence
For ST2/ST3 trainees who may be returning to the clinical environment after some time away, any concerns/anxieties/courses to support their return to practice
- Personal Development Plan
For all academic trainees research-oriented PDPs to achieve relevant research skills, even during clinical attachments
(for example – Good Clinical Practice training course, statistics courses etc)
- Progress Curriculum and Work-Placed Based Assessments
For Level 1 Trainees a plan to achieve mandatory DOPS for practical procedural skills
For all academic trainees a plan to evidence all domains of the Progress Curriculum – if challenges/gaps identified, how can this be remedied?
5. MRCPCH Examinations
As a trainer or supervisor, it is important to support all Trainees in planning for their MRCPCH examinations. For academic trainees, forward planning is even more imperative. Existing resources advise that written examinations be completed before starting their research block (usually in ST2). This would then allow trainees to focus exclusively on their research during their 9-month protected block.
6. Pastoral Support
Well-being and Resilience Plans
Although not unique to academic trainees, coping strategies and resilience plans are of particular importance, given the unique challenges of academic training. Some of the stressor that academic trainees encounter and have to manage include:
- Heavy workload and commitments
- Competition and application for research grants
- Financial insecurity (recent trainees have experienced months without pay after times of transition between NHS and University employers)
- Coping with failure
- Career uncertainty
As a trainer or supervisor, it is essential to address these potential stressors and signpost to resources as appropriate.
Resources as a trainer or supervisor that may be valuable to your academic trainees include:
- LSP Academic Subgroup website resources here