Dr Tom Cromarty
Welsh Clinical Leadership Fellow, Paediatric ST5 Trainee
Having been a Leadership Fellow for at least three months now, I am beginning to appreciate some of the key traits which great leaders develop and demonstrate. The opportunity to attend leadership conferences enables me to be immersed with people enthusiastic about medical leadership. People who are passionate about improving the lives of medical staff and the patients they serve.
The “Leaders in Healthcare” conference was run by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management or “FMLM”. The FMLM aims to professionalise medical leadershipand improve patient care. Trainee membership is £84 per annum and you receive a whole lot of bang for your buck if you use all that is on offer. The conferenceconsisted of 3 days of masterclasses, keynotes and plenary sessions with a diverse set of speakers.
To be honest the most reassuring reflection from the conference was that there are no ground breaking new short cuts, evidence or cheats to employing great leadership.
Often with the best presentations, your practice is challenged, and usually more questions are generated than answered. Below I have put together a few small summaries of my favourite sessions over the week. I hope you enjoy them, there are also some exercises at the end to try.
Political Astuteness: aka “Influence in Organisations”
The world in which we work can seem vast, that’s if we are even given the chance to look up and have a glance for ourselves. Early on in a career, often the overwhelming thought is “I don’t do politics”. The usual pattern then follows with “Wowza, I need to know about politics” (to change things for the better) and finally “I need to tell everyone about how to master politics at work” (so we can all change things). This realisation is a like a loss of innocence. It’s easy to think you are just a sheep, but the world is complicated, and you NEED to develop political astuteness to be effective in the world.
Directing individuals through authority or using a badge/label to exert power is not leadership, it is management and poor management at that. Leadership on the other hand is the ability to influence individuals. Influence cannot be bought or attained through hierarchy. The internal values one holds, shape their external behaviours. Your behaviours are the markers on which you are judged by others. For this reason, influencing power can be developed by and exerted at anylevel.
“Does she/he do what they say?”
As an individual you decide…“Am I going to be influenced by him/her?”
Patterns not Problems: Working with Intractable Issues
Types of problems:
Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England
“In uncertain times, the only known is that there will be change,
and it looks like it will be YOU doing the leading!”
Digital revolution: Not just AI, but intra-operability, health/medical data, wearables.
Link to the global health agenda.Genetic revolution: Need masses of space.
Currently leadership is seen as aposition for individualsrather than a behaviour for everyone. We must stop the unhelpful “I’m just a….” attitude and the notion of“Don’t get ahead of yourself there Dr. X, you don’t need to be doing that yet”. Leaders need to aim to regularly add value to the people around them, and everyone can do that, every day.
“It will never be someone like me” But think “Control your own destiny” it needs to be done by someone, why not make it you?
Read theBMJ Leaderfor leadership tips, research and evidence.
Matthew Hancock – Health Secretary England
The NHS needs a leadership culture change. We must stop apportioningblame but start really harnessing a culture of learning from mistakes. Anyone who says they have never made a mistake simply isn’t telling the truth. And the truth is at the heart of honest reflection, learning and moving forward. We want staff to challenge without fear and encourage complaints as these are opportunities to improve. Ideally, we want to give away the directive and hierarchical power and consequently empower all individual healthcare workers.
This is what we are! This is where were going! This is how were going to get there!
Ends with a challenge:
What are you going to do?
Tim Swanwick - Leadership in the Undergraduate Years
“Leadership is a contact sport which brings about change. This cannot be done from the comfort of a desk or department headquarters. The key to developing leadership skills is to get outside of your comfort zone, that’s when you learn the most. Seek out opportunities and go for it. Lead the way to your own future.”
“Management makes sure the ship is stable, Leadership sails it in the right direction.”
It seems like it wasn’t too long ago where communication skills were thought of as innate. If you had them, you’d be a GP, if you didn’t then you’d be a surgeon or a pathologist (I jest of course but you get the point). Thankfully, at least for the past 15 years, medical schools have recognised that everyone needs to be taught these key skills and consequentially there have been significant improvements. Communication workshops with breaking bad news and explaining diagnosis and management plans have upskilled all doctors and made a massive impact on the care delivered to patients and their families.
The tide is changing, leadership & management is being asked about in medical school interviews. Specific leadership skills curriculums are being introduced into universities across the country next year.
“What if every newly qualified healthcare professional graduated thinking as a leader.”
GMC document 2018 – “Outcomes for graduates”. 1stdomain in the curricula.
The science of Leadership & Management is not new. There are 15,000 members of the American Academy of Business who have been researching L&M for many years. The BMJ Leader could bring business school world evidence to medicine.
His best advice: Go and get some honest feedback, it will be perhaps the most useful gift you will receive from a colleague?!? Try asking this… “Tell me one thing that I do which is negative?” It takes a degree of bravery for you to ask and reciprocal bravery for them to answer honestly as well. He also insists that we should all have mentors. One can have multiple mentors, e.g. a leadership and speciality mentor. They offer a sounding board for example, difficult interactions with a colleague. They can guide you and order your thinking.
Consider the following as some of the more “formal” leadership opportunities:
NHS Improvement: Developing People Improving Care
Great project in Scotland: Project Lift: NHS Scotland https://www.projectlift.scot/
Diversity And Inclusion in Healthcare
Do you know what the 9 protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 are?
Do you know what “BAME” stands for?
This was a really interesting session recognising that even if there is diversity in the workforce or patients, these groups may still lack full inclusion or equality. Leaders need to learn how to o address these issues and respond to unconscious bias. How to hear some difficult messages, and how to respond positively. All too often issues are not confronted as “Oh this is making me feel uncomfortable” or “Of course we’re not, that can’t happen here”. We all need to be “Power aware, Identity aware and Self-aware”. The mindset we embrace in the workplace that liberates other people.
Often organisations only take a stand when it gets to “Discrimination” stage, as the lower levels are largely invisible to those not affected by it. We need to upskill leaders so that everyone is aware of what is happening, the behaviour is addressed sooner, everyone has the courage and permission to call out bad behaviour. Courage is the most important of all the virtues, without courage you can’t do any of the other virtues consistently.
“The behaviour we walk past is the behaviour we accept”
Barriers to successful inclusion:
“The only person I can change is myself, how I show up might encourage others to shift their focus, their attention and their behaviour”
If you are reading this, you are part of the generation that can make the change!
Malala Youssef – Nobel Peace Prize award speech– “Let this end with us”
Richard Watson – Futurist:
Mega Trends and Technologies2017-2050
It seems that Richard and many others who look to the future can only be sure on one thing, “it is UNCERTAIN and there will be many ways of doing things”.Now for someone who is highly paid for their predictions this seems like a great way of hedging your bets. He also highlighted the worrying change in society with the dominance of screen delivered information and a sedentary lifestyle. Previously children would have been told “behave or you will have to go inside!”, now it is the opposite! He described a world where devices know more about you than you do about yourself.
Anybody who says they know exactly what the future holds is lying. However, we spend too much time worrying about it. We NEED to spend time as communities figuring out what we want to happen, using a proactive and positive mindset. It doesn’t matter if we are wrong. We must all have a collective vision of where we want to go, build narratives around the vision and step towards it. I agree with Richards aim of…
“Every day waking up and trying to get better,
making things better for ourselves and others”
Another interesting person is Yuval Noah Harari: 21 Lessons for 21stcentury - interview
Professor Megan Reitz: Professor of Leadership and Dialogue
Speaking Truth to Power – Have a look for yourself here– it was an excellent 60 mins.
Megan delivered a fantastic session about “That moment!” The one a person decides, shall I say something or not, and educated us on the act of “Speaking up”. All the scandals in healthcare organisations of recent times have something in common. People knew bad stuff was going on, but they didn’t speak up, and this resulted in patients coming to harm.
One reason is the belief that it is always someone else’s responsibility and absolving oneself from responsibility. “They” aren’t speaking up, “they” need to show courage. Another issue is that often those very people who say the one time they did build up the courage and spoke out, they weren’t listened to and it made no difference. What if you experimented, what difference would it make at a collective level? Think about an occasion where you decided to say something, or not. Megan uses T.R.U.T.H to discuss the issues about these decisions.
TRUTH: Trust, Risk, Understanding, Titles, How-to
Trust: The value of your own opinion
Risk: Realizing the risks of speaking up to powerful people and the ensuing struggle
Understanding: Will I be perceived negatively, will I upset someone,“Will I belong”?
Titles: We label inherently. Depending on the context, convey levels of authority
How-to: Knowing what to say, when, how and to whom
Megan then describes a number of traps and behaviours we all fall into which stop us from having the conversations we know we should have!
Speak-Up Traps: We doubt ourselves – Imposter syndrome. Check the voice, notice when it comes in. Engage with it, am I going to listen to it this time.
The Blind Spot: You will not listen unless you trust the value of their opinions. Can I empathise with how risky it might feel for this person to be speaking up? What titles do I have on me to affect what kind of information this person is telling me? Individuals ALWAYS think they are better at listening than other people.
Listen-up traps: It’s easy to forget that no matter how lovely and approachable we seem as juniors, decades later, given some labels and titles, we are all quite scary. Make sure you don’t send“Shut up” signals and not “speak up” signals by knowing your face (and the rest of your body language signals, and environment you create).
Today and every day, we make choices about what to say and when to stay silent. When we really help someone else to speak up or silence them. Choices feel mundane but if you add them up together it is what defines you. How you speak up and listen up represents the values you hold and the culture in which you work. If you think about it and act accordingly, you will change habits and change cultures.
Some exercises and information to peruse at home in your own time!
Exercise 1: Personal Values
Think about your own values! What matters to you? How do you display your values at work? Much of the conflict at work results from a mis-alignment of core values.
Spend some time writing down your beliefs. What behaviours demonstrate your values? None of these have anything to do with medicine or your background/grade.
Exercise: Search for 50 personal values on the internet.
Step 1: Make 3 groups of importance to you (High, Medium, Low)
Step 2: Place each of the 50 values in a group
Step 3: Take the “High” group and again split these into high, medium and low.
Step 4: Group similar values together until you have 3-5 left.
Step 5: Welcome to your values, enjoy them, be true to them, live them!
Check out…Harry Kramer, Values in Leadership.
One moves around the grid, depending on what is being demanded of us. Who else is there? Personal circumstances? Ideally there is a sweet spot (in Green) of moving around all areas, aiming to avoid the inept/donkey.
How do you bring people and landscape together in your head and put it onto paper?
Stakeholder mapping, mind mapping, network mapping.
Another tool: Understanding people landscape map(Like Nike said… just do it)
Length of the line: how far they are away from you
Arrow direction: if you want them to be closer or further from you
Dotted lines: are relationships you want to develop
Small circles: /10 effort to build relationship (realistically)
Stops: how far you want to bring them closer
Wordsadd a narrative: Rich picture without words doesn’t show much
Update it regularly, do it for different work groups. Use it for work networks, family situations, family events. For example, see diagram below:
Do you know the 9 protected characteristics in the UK workplace?
Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation.
A reflective exercise to do at the end of any teaching session, activity or experience.
Take for example this blog (which I’ll admit has a lot crammed into it). Try and think of at least one behaviour in each of the following headings...
Start doing: something you don’t do but think you should actively work to do more of.
Stop doing: something you currently do but will actively try to do less of or stop doing.
Continue doing:Something you are doing already but will do more of it because it works.
Assim Ali Javaid – ST3
Paediatric trainees in Wales are a lucky bunch in many ways but one of my personal favourites is the chance to spend your ST3 year as an academic year. As far as I know, Wales Deanery is the only one that offers this option. Everywhere else you’re either on an official Academic Training Fellow Programme or not. Wales Deanery has been running the Academic ST3 Year option for the last 3 years and it offers paediatric trainees in Wales a chance to explore interests in research and/or teaching before formally entering Level 2 training. This is done alongside providing out of hours clinical cover at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), usually as the Specialty SHO on call. There is only one Academic ST3 post available per year and it is largely up to the trainee who gets the post how they use the year. As such, every trainee who has had the post for the last 3 years has had a different experience.
In my case, I have an interest in research and teaching and wanted to explore something related to Paediatric Emergency Medicine. After discussing options with various consultants, I decided to join Professor Alison Kemp’s team and explore burns injuries in children from a safeguarding perspective. Alongside this I have offered to cover a clinical trial being carried out by the UHW Research Unit, taken up multiple teaching opportunities and started a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education. With all this on my plate, my day-to-day work varies greatly and I don’t have a typical “day” of work. In order to give you an idea of what I’ve done with this year I’ll briefly mention the different roles I’ve taken on. It’s worth remembering though, that this is a very flexible year and there are a number of other ways to use the time.
The bulk of my work is based in research. The burns team I work with has a database of around 4,000 burns cases with huge amounts of usable data recorded for each case. After deciding on a couple of research questions with Professor Kemp, most of my time is spent reading through the relevant literature, working with the database and trying to answer it. Proposing and answering research questions uses an entirely different set of skills to managing patients on the ward and one of the main advantages to this year is getting a chance to exercise a set of cognitive functions we rarely get to use in clinical practice. For those unfamiliar with statistical analysis, as I was, this can be pretty daunting at first but as you have no in-hours clinical commitments, there is plenty of time to learn how to work with biostatistics.
This would essentially be all I did during the day if I hadn’t chosen to take up a number of extra activities to break the monotony of research. During most weeks I will have two to four half day sessions dedicated to doing some of this extra work. I provide clinical cover for a trial being carried out at the Research Unit in UHW, for which my job is writing prescriptions, doing blood tests, interpreting ECGs and assessing any children who become acutely unwell while participating in the trial. Alongside this I spend a lot of time teaching. There are numerous teaching opportunities with UHW or Cardiff University and, I should point out, all are available for anyone to help with. However, the advantages of being an Academic Trainee is that, first, you have the time available to do a lot of teaching and, secondly, you’re often one of the first trainees to come to mind when Consultants or registrars are looking for help with teaching. So far this year I’ve been involved with teaching clinical skills to medical students, facilitating ethical debates between medical students, providing teaching to medical students on paediatric emergencies and paediatric prescribing, helping with mock paediatric exams for medical students at UHW, being a clinical tutor to final year students doing a module in Patient Safety, doing paediatric simulation training with final year medical students and providing teaching sessions for paediatric trainees due to sit their MRCPCH written or clinical exams.
There are considerable out of hour’s responsibilities too. The Academic ST3 usually goes on to the Specialty SHO on call rota, which is 50% banded at present, providing out of hours cover for Surgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Respiratory, Renal and Oncology. However, another great advantage to being an ST3 at UHW is the option to step up and cover your on call shifts as the Registrar instead. UHW is a nice place to do this as you’ll be paired with registrar covering General Paediatrics (usually more senior than yourself) and there’s an onsite PICU registrar for help also. Of course stepping up to Registrar is entirely optional and the post is based on the assumption of SHO level cover.
If you’re considering applying for the Academic post for ST3 there is only one place available per year, so it can be competitive. In order to qualify, the applicant has to be on course to have completed their membership exams, i.e. all the written papers and the clinical exam, by the end of ST2. If that’s the case, what you need to consider is whether this is what you’d like to do with your ST3 year. Trainees who aren’t particularly interested in research or teaching, those who want to get as much SHO level clinical experience before entering Level 2 training or those who want to skip ST3 altogether and go straight to ST4 probably have little to gain from spending their ST3 year on an Academic post. It’s also not particularly great for those who want to gain early experience in a particular sub-specialty in UHW, with a possible future SPIN or Grid application in mind.
However, this is a fantastic post for anyone with an interest in research and/or teaching, for those looking to improve their CV for a future Grid application or those who just want a bit of a break from constant clinical practice. It’s a rare chance to experience something outside of clinical practice, without having to take time out of the programme in order to accomplish it. Personally, I can’t recommend the Academic post highly enough!
An OOPE in Sydney, Australia.
Dr Thomas Cromarty
I have just returned from an OOPE and wanted to share my experience of living and working in Australia. After embarking on the best training scheme of them all (Paediatrics) in 2012, I worked around South Wales from ST1-5. The Welsh Paediatric Training Programme Director is keen to produce well rounded paediatricians and encouraged me take the opportunity in Westmead Children’s Emergency Department, Sydney.
I could tell you about all the trips we went on: Visiting my dad in Canberra, Campervanning around Tasmania, watching the tennis in Melbourne, taking selfies with the quokkas on Rottnest island (Perth), surfing in Margaret River, watching the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, swimming with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef and night treks in the Daintree rainforest. But that will just make you jealous and me sad, so I’ll try and give you unbiased view of my reflections on a year working there instead.
“Big surf” in the Australian Life Saving Ironman @ Queenscliff Life Saving Club
Nat and I with the Rottnest star of the show aka “The Quokka”
It would make a mockery of a blog if I didn’t start by mentioning the Work:Life balance situation! My partner and I lived 500m the beach in a place called Queenscliff near Manly. Our end of the beach was quiet, had waves most of the time and was pretty much perfect. We lived on the top floor of an apartment block which included a roof top terrace aka skin cancer zone. As an “outdoorsy type” I was in heaven. There were running, cycling and triathlon clubs, surfing beaches, SUP, yoga studios, open water swimming and even Dragon Boat racing! You name it, it was expensive, but it was available.
Unfortunately, I worked 40km away in the west of the city which meant that I had my old friend, traffic, to contend with on a regular basis. I worked 4 x 10 hour shifts per week in the Paeds ED, with most shifts mirroring the peak attendance times of 14:00-00:00. Despite the commute, there was no chance of me moving to other side of the world and not living by the Ocean!
The Work: Positives
Dr Smarty Pants, hard at work… at Westmead Children’s Hospital
The Work: Negatives
I produced a PDP of goals to achieve throughout the year, these included upgrading my USS skills as well as confidence managing paediatric trauma and minor injuries. I found this particularly useful and would encourage everyone to take some time to establish some short, medium, and long term goals for life both in and outside of work.
I think it is essential for all medical staff to experience working in a number of different settings. This enables them to be exposed to a number of working environments and behaviours, choosing which to adopt into their personal style, facilitating their journey to becoming a more effective clinician and leader. My year working abroad will undoubtedly be different to yours and you need to decide if it is right for you (and your significant others!) What I would say though is if you don’t try it, you’ll never know… What’s the worst that could happen?!
The start of “Hells Bells” 24 hour adventure race in Noosa, Queensland
Helicopter trip over Sydney CBD
Fair Dinkum, I had a ripper of a year out and am looking to continue that growth of skills this year as a Clinical Leadership Fellow in Cardiff and Vale, engaging junior doctors in leadership and QI development. If you want to get involved with this project, have any questions about taking a year out or just want to see some more photos please don’t hesitate to contact me at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patient’s parent: She’s been crook for days mate?
Doctor: Nah no worries mate, she’ll be right!
Guest blog from Dr Nicole Parish, Clinical Psychologist, Noah’s Ark Hospital for Wales
We’re led to believe that multitasking is a good thing. That tackling several activities in one go, while thinking of many more, is a highly regarded skill essential to our professional and personal lives. But could there be advantages of not planning the next activity while you’re still doing your last; of not checking your phone while eating lunch; or of not mentally replaying things from your day while watching TV?
What if instead there was a drive to do one thing at one time? Well, that’s the concept of mindfulness: to actively focus your attention on one thing in the present moment and to do it in an accepting, non-judgmental way.
I am Nicole, a Clinical Psychologist working within the Children’s Hospital for Wales and I am keen to promote the idea of mindfulness for staff well-being. As an outsider, I can see how a career in medicine could take its toll: the multiple demands, the irregular shift patterns and dealing with difficult situations on a daily basis. I feel it is important to do all we can to change the inevitably flawed systems in which we work in and, until then, support staff to manage it. Rather than just expecting them to cope.
Thank you to Lisa Budd for her photograph from California
Our working lives can make our already busy minds even more frantic. We’ll go over things that have happened; thinking about how things could have or should have gone. Equally, we daydream about what’s to come; practicing conversations in our head or imagining the worst case scenario. In recognising this, mindfulness first asks us to slow down the mental chitter chatter. To notice when your mind is going off on a tangent and to bring it back to the here-and-now.
Then there’s the judgments we make. The continual and automatic criticisms we have about anything and everything. That sound is irritating, that person is really frustrating or I’m so stupid I shouldn’t have done that! This is why the second concept of mindfulness asks us to be open to all experiences in a non-judgmentally. Imagine two people are caught in a downpour of rain. One is furious, wishing they’d checked the weather forecast and worrying that they’ll get a cold. Whereas the other notices the pressure of the rain droplets on their shoulders and the feeling of cold water on their hands. Both of them will get just as wet, but their emotional experiences of the storm are going to be very different.
Having said that, mindfulness isn’t a miracle cure that’s going to make all your stress disappear. But focusing on only one thing may help you to feel more settled, even if just for a moment. Perhaps doing less at once could help you to tackle more? And taking the time to tune into how you are feeling may motivate you to make beneficial changes. At work you’re expected to wash your hands between seeing patients, and perhaps there is a way to think about refreshing you mind in a similar way?
Thank you to Lisa Budd for her photograph from California
If you’re interested in finding out more, the books ‘Mindfulness: Finding peace in a frantic world’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, and ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn are a good place to start. Plus many health boards in Wales offer mindfulness initiatives for staff. For example, I deliver drop-in mindfulness sessions every fortnight within Cardiff and Vale UHB. There are also free courses lead by Academi Wales, such as ‘An Introduction to Mindfulness’ and their 3-day retreat style ‘Explore and Walk’, which I can say first hand is brilliant.Want to start smaller? You can make tweaks to your routine to be more mindful, the trick is finding something that works for you. My sister, for example, is a fan of listening to an app on her phone for about 5-10 minutes a day (well, on the days she remembers and that’s fine!). If you’d like the structure of a guided meditation, and could benefit from taking yourself away for a short period of time, some good ones to try are Headspace (free to download, with an optional subscription), Buddhify (initial fee for the app, then free to use) and Smiling Mind (free to download and free to use).
Whereas I prefer to build the ideas of mindfulness into what I am already doing. I use my walk home as an opportunity to focus on the scene around me, the colour of the trees and the movement of my feet. If that’s more up your street, try choosing one thing to do with more intent and curiosity. When brushing your teeth, notice the sensation of the bristles and taste of the toothpaste; when washing up, pay attention to the temperature of the water and the squeaky sound of the sponge; or perhaps sit down to really enjoy that cup of tea, rather than picking up your mug to take a sip only to find you’ve drunk it all!
So instead of multitasking, maybe it is time to try focusing your attention on just one thing? Purposefully and non-judgmentally. You won’t do it perfectly and you will get distracted. But that’s ok. Mindfulness isn’t about getting it right, it’s all about noticing, accepting and refocusing, many times over.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
13th-15th November, Southport Theatre and Convention Centre
Once again I was privileged to attend the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare annual conference. The train journey to get here was epic but the conference was def. worth the travelling. The conference started with a Tuesday Evening Keynote after a day of workshops. An inspiring first session from Professor Tim Draycott. He spoke about simulation giving teams a chance to 'Have another go'. Team training and teams who train together the communicate well and share leadership. But he demonstrated many examples where teams training together did not improve outcomes. So therefore what is it about a team which makes them more effective? Professor Draycott suggested that teams who did this stated the emergency earlier, the amount of directed commands was higher and they communicated using an SBAR model (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) In teams that were training together but not seeing improvement in their outcomes he suggests looking further and ensuring that the equipment used is appropriate and that the simulations are standardised, like a recipe. He asks whether as we move forward we should be looking at simulation and evaluating it as we do pharmacological drugs - can we make it a qualy? This would engage and influence the policy makers. Could we offer insurance discounts to hospitals who regularly participate in team simulation and show that this has increased patient safety. We need to give simulation a value. He also suggested that simulation could be use to understand problems and help make the right way the easiest way. Therefore identifying ways which the system needs to change by running simulations. It is more than just knowledge transfer.
Day 2 began with one of the most inspiration speakers I have seen at a conference. Dr Kimberley Stone From Seattle Children's hospital spoke about using simulation to test out the design of a new children's hospital. They got the designers to mock up a card board version of areas such as the research room in the emergency department and the kitchen so they could run through how the rooms flowed and worked. When they found significant flaws in the design of the resus room they were able to redesign it and make it fit how they wanted it to work, all using simulation. Once the bricks were laid and the hospital was ready to open the simulated 'a day in the life of …. ward' before a patient stepped foot in the door. They were able to identify latent threats and patient safety issues and correct them without any chance for patients to come to harm.
This offered me a completely different view of simulation and one which I had not thought of using simulation for but when you look at it, it makes complete sense. If we can do practise runs in the hospital before it's built we ensure that equipment is where we need it to be and patient flow is optimised. If we then SIM each area before it is used we can identify all the latent threats and eliminate them before they become close to making it into patient care. This use for simulation looks fantastic and in the future this should become the norm.
Breakout sessions then commenced with a variety of talks on exciting projects which are happening around the country. I was particularly interested in Doreen Stockdale's presentation on running a 'Dragons Den' type competition for midwifery students to design an app which introduces the students to simulation teaching and how it works. It is often forgotten when you have been doing simulation for a while that to others it is an alien teaching form and they don't know how to do it. The app is in the process of being made and has 3 area's - Know yourself, know others and Get to know the story. I'm looking forward to seeing it finished and whether we could use it with our undergraduate students or nursing colleagues as an introduction to simulation.
The next keynote was delivered by Professor Nick Sevdalis He spoke about moving simulation from looking at Efficacy (can I work?) to Effectiveness (Does it work?) Looking a scaling up simulation training programs and how we can make it work.
Followed by more breakout sessions. The most interesting session I attended focused on developing non technical skills recognition for junior doctors through simulation teaching. This involved designing a 'Bingo' type card for simulation observers to focus on different human factors while the simulation session was going on rather than be passive observers. This helps in developing the knowledge of the junior doctors in human factors.
The final keynote speaker on day 2 was Paul Gowen's who is the Lead consultant paramedic for the Scottish Ambulance service. He demonstrated the fantastic work which the Scottish Ambulance service has been doing for out of hospital cardiac arrests and was a very dynamic speaker, I would recommend watching his talk on catch up for a reminder about why we are all focusing on simulation to improve patient outcomes.
After a meeting of the Paediatric special interest group was done it was onto the conference dinner. Photo's of this will not be shared but I loved the addition of a mini conference photo booth!
Day 3 started with 2 keynote speeches. The first delivered by Dr Neil Ralph @DrNRalph from Health Education England who shared the notion that we should be investing in the people who deliver the simualtions and focusing more on faculty development as well as working with e-LfH to offer e-learning around simulation. Followed by Professor Bob Stone who tooke the whole room into a world of virtual reality being utilised in the armed forces and how this can be applied to healthcare. He focused very much on 'Humans first, technology second' Mixed reality in healthcare is not yet fit for purpose but its developing fast and new opportunities are emerging. plus the simulation for evacuation of casualties on the helicopter looked absolutely fantastic. His keynote offered us a taste of what is yet to come, and it could make simulation even more exciting.
I presented in the next breakout session the falls project detailed below. After lunch their were further breakout sessions to see what everybody else was doing within simulation around the country and learn about the introduction to the STEP program which ASPiH has developed to aid with the development of simulation technicians.
The closing keynote was delivered by Bryn Baxendale. Who spoke about the development of health teams.
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to present some of the work we have been doing in Cardiff and Vale within the medical education team in simulation.
Within Cardiff and Vale we have reorganised the way we have been creating and structuring our simulation courses. We have been making these more mutli-disciplinary and therefore focusing on team work within the NHS. We know that increasing team work increases productivity and improves patient safety.
We have also been evaluating our simulation more effectively and have been able to show statistically significant increases in confidence and knowledge following attendance at a simulation course. We are creating simulation courses around significant targets for the trust such as the reduction of falls. I was lucky to present orally a project we did with the Trauma and Orthopaedic department. We created a patient story simulation from admission to post theatre in order to improve the confidence of the Foundation Doctors with patient management. This has been a very successful course which significantly improved the confidence of the trainees who have been through it.
The second oral presentation I gave was on the Falls project. We are keen to develop simulation around significant patient safety issues and falls prevention and management has been highlighted as one of these. We have been working with a ward in our hospital and lead nurses have been trained in teaching simulation and are now delivering it to their teams. Again this project has been very successful.
The two poster presentations are below and focus on a further 2 simulation course which are available. I was grateful to get the opportunity to present the fantastic work we have been doing in Cardiff and Vale to a wide audience.
In summary, if you have any interest in simulation I would absolutely recommend that you put the ASPiH conference in you diary to attend, next year is in Belfast. The keynote speeches from this year can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzm6Ad9XIwxksSlhE9BK4IQY2kOpKvxUJ
Thank you to the ASPiH team for giving me the opportunity to present our work and to Cardiff and Vale for enabling me to attend this fantastic conference which has given me lots of exciting ideas.
For more information:
Last years blog can be found here: https://www.wrenpaediatrics.com/blog/its-all-about-simulation
ASPiH website: http://aspih.org.uk/
Follow on twitter: @ASPiHUK
Conference website: http://www.aspihconference.co.uk/
20th November 2018
Dr Chris Course
The 32nd Annual Symposium for Cystic Fibrosis in Adults and Children took place at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on 20th November 2018. It had been organised by Professor Iolo Doull from the Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis at the Children’s Hospital for Wales, Cardiff, and aimed to serve as an update for hot topics and emerging trends in the care of cystic fibrosis over the past 12 months. This was my second visit to the Royal Society of Medicine, and again it didn’t disappoint. It is a great venue for any meeting, and always provides excellent conference facilities and service. The RSM put on a great variety of meetings, and there is generally something for everyone, no matter what your area of clinical interest. Many of the meetings are either free or very reasonably priced.
The 32nd Symposium for CF started with a talk from Dr N ick Simmonds from the Royal Brompton about some of the diagnostic challenges emerging in the world of CF. With increasing understanding of CFTR gene variations and mutations, there is an increasing awareness of variable clinical phenotype and disease penetrance. There appears to be an increasing acceptance of a range of CF-related disease, and single-organ disease (e.g. pancreatic dysfunction with normal respiratory health) is being seen in some of the more variable genotypes in some patients. The importance of clinical correlation with genotype was highlighted, as well as the importance of functional assessment of CFTR in diagnostics. The traditional importance of sweat chloride was stressed, and a discussion was had around the emerging use of nasal potential difference calculations in functional assessment of CFTR was discussed.
This was followed by a presentation from Dr Julian Forton, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Cardiff on how best to diagnose respiratory infection in children. This focussed on the successful completion of the CF-SpIT trial, led by Dr Forton (and paper available here: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(18)30171-1/fulltext) which found that induced sputum samples were as effective as two-lobe broncheo-alveolar lavage samples (currently the gold standard test) at assessing the pathogens present in the lower airways, but were easier to obtain and better tolerated, avoiding need for general anaesthetic. There was also a suggestion that induced sputum may be superior at assessing the bacteria present in the larger airways, which can be symptomatic in children with signs of bronchitis (wet cough). The paper is a really good read, published in the Lancet, and great to see such influential research being undertaken locally in Wales. After speaking with Dr Forton, the findings of CF-SpIT are starting to change practice internationally, especially in Australia, where routine bronchoscopy (not just for symptomatic children) is a much more common undertaking.
The morning was rounded off with presentations from Dr Kris de Boeck, Leuven University, Belgium on the challenges on investigating the clinical efficacy of newer disease modulating CF drugs (such as Ivacaftor) in children with rare genotypes, and Professor Martin Walshaw
who chaired the NICE CF guideline (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng78). This provided an interesting contrast between the emerging advice on the challenges of investigating the treatment of rare genotypes with newer therapies, and the role of well-established management in cystic fibrosis and how to recommend best practice in a dynamic and changing treatment landscape.
Following lunch, there was a discussion from Professor Andrew Jones of the Manchester Adult CF centre on the complexities of which pathogens we should worry about (in short, we all still worry about pseudomonas, but with newer culture techniques, there are isolates emerging, such as achromobacter, ralstonia, and anaerobes which may or may not be associated with accelerated decline in lung function) and the challenges of extrapolating in vitro models in in vivo clinical situations. This was followed by a presentation from Professor Jane Davies, Royal Brompton Hospital, on the new and emerging therapies in CF. The future at present seems to be the CF modulating drugs, such as Ivacaftor, which improve the function of dysfunctional CFTR, and the potential for combination therapies which improve CFTR production and expression. The main challenges with these drugs still seem to be their immense cost, and correlating this with affordable clinical benefit. The ongoing story of gene therapies was also briefly touched upon, and although initial trials and mechanisms have had suboptimal results, newer trials and modalities are being developed and funded.
After a coffee break, the fellow presentations began. This was an opportunity for fellows and trainees to present interesting cases and discussion points to the meeting (and where I had the opportunity to discuss a case and the potential ethical implications for newborn screening). Despite the excellent calibre of the presentations that had come before, and their high academic rigour, the audience were kind and supportive for the trainee presentations, and I wasn’t faced with any overly challenging questions!
In summary, the 32nd Annual CF Symposium was a thoroughly enjoyable meeting, and relevant to anyone with an interest in respiratory health in paediatrics. It also provided a useful insight into the transition for these children into adult services and how the focus of management can change with the move to adult CF teams. It was also a valuable opportunity to undertake a bit of CV building with a case presentation (at present anyone who presents at the CF symposium is also invited to submit a review article on the subject for Paediatric Respiratory Reviews). Professor Doull is organising the 33rd Symposium in 2019 also, so keep a look out on the RSM website for further details.
Dr Annabel Greenwood
Earlier this month I attended the Wales Neonatal Network Audit & QI Day and a hot topic for discussion was sepsis and the use of antibiotics. The sepsis risk calculator (SRC) is a fairly new concept due for implementation in neonatal units across Wales early next year…but what does it involve?!
What is the sepsis risk calculator?
The SRC was established by the Kaiser Permanente Health Group in Northern California, and has reduced antibiotic use in babies by almost 50%.
It is a tool for calculating the risk of early-onset neonatal sepsis (EONS) in babies ³ 34/40 gestation. It uses maternal risk factors together with the clinical presentation of the baby to calculate a probability of EONS per 1000 babies.
Why is it important?
The incidence of EONS is 0.5-0.9/1000 live births in babies ³34/40 gestation, with a 3.5% incidence of mortality. Current guidelines for EONS are not sensitive or specific e.g. the definition of chorioamnionitis can vary, diagnostic tests have poor predictive value for EONS, and 40-50% of cases are not captured by current screening tools. Furthermore, current guidelines do not take into account the clinical examination of the baby.
We have a duty as clinicians to improve antibiotic stewardship, avoid unnecessary investigations, and shorten duration of stay in hospital.
The calculator in more detail…
An initial probability of EONS is calculated based on the population incidence together with risk factors for sepsis including; gestational age, highest maternal antepartum temperature, GBS carriage status, duration of rupture of membranes, and the nature and timing of intrapartum antibiotic administration. The baseline risk is then modified based on the infant’s clinical examination
Implementation of the Sepsis Risk Calculator…
The calculator is not currently in use in neonatal units across Wales. However, following extensive discussion at the Wales Neonatal Network Audit & QI day, the provisional aim is for implementation early next year.
It has already been implemented in some neonatal units across England (Plymouth, Exeter, Bath, Southampton, Oxford), with a reported 40-70% reduction in antibiotic use (depending on the centre
So…what do you think?
On reflection, after listening to the discussions at the Wales Neonatal Network Audit & QI day and exploring the topic further, I feel the implementation of a sepsis risk calculator on the neonatal and postnatal units is a positive move towards improving our antibiotic stewardship, protecting babies against unnecessary investigations, whilst at the same time easing the workload of the medical team by reducing unnecessary procedures. However, let’s not forget that neither the SRC or current guidelines will pick up unwell babies at birth…There is of course no substitute for clinical acumen!
30th October 2018, RCPCH London
Dr Chris Course
The RCPCH and the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) held annual joint study day aimed at promoting and de-mystifying academic training careers. This free study day is fairly new on the RCPCH events calendar, having only been held for the past couple of years, but aims to tackle an area of training which is sometimes perceived as difficult to understand and undertake.
This was my first trip to RCPCH HQ in London, and it was great to actually see the place where its all run from. Despite not being as grand as the Royal College of Surgeons or GPs, it was a modern building with good meeting facilities. I was also a little worried that, not already been on an academic training pathway, I may be a little “out-of-it” or some of the subject matter may not be useful or attainable for me.
Thankfully, I was wrong! There was a really good mix of trainees in attendance with a wide range of backgrounds. Some were already undertaking PhDs, some were nearing the end of their training and looking to build a research career, some were already on an academic training fellowship. Meeting all these colleagues with different backgrounds in the “Networking” session during the morning helped me to put my own current aspirations and difficulties into context and to being finding some solutions to these problems.
The speakers for the day were an eminent bunch and gave some really useful and insightful talks. Professor Anne Greenough started the day with a broad introduction to academic career paths, and how the new progress curriculum is building research and academia into the training domains, aiming to improve our exposure to clinical research, as well as encouraging the Deaneries to facilitate more academic opportunities. Dr Chris Gale then gave his personal experience of his path into an academic career, giving a “how-to” guide too framing a research question, finding the supervisors and mentors to help develop your project and then how to find the grant money. It was encouraging to hear how perseverance is the key to obtaining the funding, and giving hope that somebody wold fund your project if you’ve had a good idea! The morning was rounded off by Professor Paul Dimitri trying to de-mystify the NIHR – not an easy task! It seems to be a very complex structure, and I can’t say I understand how they work completely, but I’ve definitely got a better idea of where to find more information now. There was also good formation on how to further an academic career as a trainee and consultant after completing your initial projects.
The afternoon included workshops from Dr Lauren Kier from the Wellcome trust, covering tips on grant application writing and how to secure that all-important funding, and balancing clinical and academic priorities through your training grades. Following this, there was a presentation covering developing a career in industry, and leaving clinical medicine. I can’t say this talk filled me with inspiration, but it was a interesting to hear the experiences of life outside of clinical medicine with a medical degree. The day was a rounded off with an entertaining talk from Professor Mike Levin, giving an overview of “A journey into research with no plan”, and how an inquisitive mind and a bit of serendipity can help forge an academic career. I’m not sure if the much more structured and formalised training career we have now, with portfolio and ARCP demands, would still allow such a career path, but it was interesting all the same.
I would recommend the Academic Trainees Day to anyone contemplating an academic training path or thinking about taking time out of training to do research. Also highlighted in the day was the RCPCH’s Academic Toolkit www.academictoolkit.org which is another useful resource for anyone wanting to know more about academic careers. The day highlighted the challenges and obstacles to an academic career, and how to start overcoming them, and was a good networking opportunity to learn of other peoples experiences. The day showed that an academic career can be a challenging one to start and maintain, but can be incredibly rewarding.
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
A summary of a year taken out of program to pursue an interest in clinical leadership.
During the last year I have spent my time as a Welsh Clinical Leadership Fellow. While we want to use this blog to promote research and education we also want to highlight opportunities that we have within Wales for trainees. The year as a Leadership Fellow was one of the hardest but most enjoyable of my career. I have blogged on here individually about some of the fantastic opportunities which I was able to attend. I encourage you to look up the posts on the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management Leaders in Healthcare conference and the blog on the Neuroscience of Leadership course at MIT to name a few. In this summary post I want to give you an overview of why I think clinical leadership is so important and what this year involved
Why do it? Is it even important?
Leadership is everyone’s business. As you go through your career you will be but into leadership positions even if you don’t think that you are. Everybody within medicine is a leader in some way and therefore surely it is important to learn the skills to be a good one? We teach other things, procedures, history taking, interpretation of investigations so why not teach leadership? I believe there is some weight in the argument that leaders are born, not made in that some people will naturally gravitate to and thrive in leadership positions. But every leader can improve, and therefore good leadership can be taught. If as trainees we are given an opportunity to learn these skills then this can only be a good thing for the future of health care.
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management Trainee steering group is a fantastic resource for trainees. (https://www.fmlm.ac.uk/about-us/networks-and-groups/trainee-steering-group). They have just published a toolkit which outlines the importance of clinical leadership more eloquently than I can summate in this paragraph. It offers hints and tips to expand your own leadership styles without having to take a year out like I did. This can be found here: https://www.fmlm.ac.uk/members/resources/leading-as-a-junior-doctor
When I started this year, I anticipated that the patient improvement project which I had selected to do would be the complete focus of my attention but actually this was a very small part of the lasting impression I have from this year. My project was based within the medical education department at Cardiff and Vale Health Board. I worked with the simulation team changing the way which we collected feedback from our simulation courses, helping with the development of a new simulation suite, designing and leading new simulation courses and co-ordinating a innovative in-situ simulation program to tackle falls.
My supervisor Dr John Dunne was fantastic, alongside Miss Melanie Cotter they gave me freedom which I have not had in a structured training program to pursue my own interests and develop my project as we went along. Because of this I probably worked harder than I ever have, but also enjoyed work more than I ever did. My project actually became more of a tool in which to try out different leadership styles and the hints and tips we were learning as part of the PGCert in Leadership and management. It was successful and will leave a sustainable change within the medical education department.
As fellows we were all encouraged to take steps to select a project that was outside our comfort zone. While I did have a previous interest in medical education and simulation I am a paediatrican and a lot of my work this year has been done within adult specialities. The projects which we had very varied and extremely different but all offered the same opportunities and similar enough experiences.
This is the qualification which runs throughout the Leadership Fellow year. It is run by Academi Wales through Trinity St David University. The course gives you a qualification at the end of the year and is a big difference in Wales when compared to the clinical leadership opportunities offered in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There were structured sessions spaced throughout the year which were attended by a wide variety of participants outside the fellowship program (clinical directors, speech and language directors and dentistry leaders to mention a few.) These focused on a variety of different areas within clinical leadership. Teaching different leadership styles, exploring coaching qualifications and self reflection with tools such as Myers-Briggs. The best session was the team building session in Elan Valley – again on this site there is a blog post dedicated to this experience.
As a tip to this years Welsh Clinical Leadership Fellows – write your project up before you go back to clinical rotations! Right now, when I’m writing the essays, I wish I’d followed this advise from the year before me 😊
I have been able to develop myself more in this year than in the whole of training so far. I have had the opportunity to analyse my behaviour looking at my preferences, understand when they might not be the best option and how to make them work for me. I have been taught the tools to look at difficult situations from different perspectives and recognise that not everybody thinks like me! – This in itself seems simple, obviously not everybody thinks the same but I was really able to explore just how different other peoples viewpoints were. By being able to see and appreciate these, not necessarily agree, you can avoid a great deal of conflict and confusion. Resulting in, as well as from, poor leadership. But I was also taught how to deal with conflict, how to turn challenge and opposition into a unifying aspect rather than a dividing one. I have learnt to ask for forgiveness, not permission and have been given the confidence to express my opinion. I have explored my own personality and learnt to look after myself. I hope to work in the emergency department and these skills will be invaluable as I go through my career to increase my emotional intelligence and resilience.
It was HARD work.
The first few months finding your feet and trying to work out what direction you wanted your project to go in were really difficult. As trainees we come from very structured environments, rotating from job to job, thinking in 6 month blocks and ticking off targets to pass the ARCP. This year was different, at the start there were no targets, you had to make and develop them yourself. You had to become used to managing your own diary. Not having to clock in and clock out was very liberating but also intense. As a group we handled this either by working every hour never really clocking off, in order to justify our time or by spending a while drifting around not really achieving much with he vast amount of time offered to us. This evened out in the end as we learnt the skills which came with the freedom. It was your responsibility to create opportunities rather than somebody handing them to you. And networking is a skill which can only be achieved through practise and comes easier to some than others.
On a personal note, I was also away for large chucks of time from my family home. I have 2 small children aged 5 and 3 and part of this year was to have the flexibility to see them more frequently. I’m not sure I achieved that, being on a plane to Boston while my daughter was on stage at St David’s Hall in her first ballet show was a particular low point. (Thanks go to my Mum for stepping into that!)
The pros far outweigh the cons. I have learnt so much more about who I am. What is good about my leadership style but also what I need to work on. My biggest learning point from this year is to respond not react, something that I didn’t even recognise I was doing until this year. I have had the opportunity to develop a long lasting quality improvement project, which is sustainable even after I have left my post. But I worked hard, I created my own opportunities and spent less time with my family than I would have liked.
Would I do it all again? … Absolutely!
If you are interested in applying for the Welsh Clinical Leadership Year and want me information please do contact me, I’d be more than happy to chat over coffee.
Guest Blog from Dr Katie Greenwood ST8
Hello! Thank you WREN team for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences over the past few years with you.
Life as a paediatric trainee can be one of considerable stimulation, compassion, challenge and significant reward. The desire to deliver a very high standard of performance and achieve excellence within the workplace, has made me recognise the importance of developing exciting out of hours interests and achievements. Alongside working hard as a senior paediatric trainee, I have developed a passion for competing in triathlons and have participated in a number of challenging races across the world.
Where did it all begin?......…
A friend mentioned joining the Cardiff Triathlon club, apparently the fastest growing club within the UK. I pondered the idea of joining the team. Here are a few initial thoughts which crossed my mind:
- How on earth do people manage to swim/cycle/run within one race?
- Open water swimming in the UK sounded particularly un-exotic!
- How does a busy paediatric trainee fit in the training for this challenging sport?
After joining the club I started my racing career with a low key Cardiff “try-a-tri” triathlon and finished the same season with a race in the French alps….the famous (and brutal!) Alpe D’huez mountain climb. Oh dear!
From these moments on, I haven’t looked back! Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to win both the Sprint and Standard distance Welsh Champion triathlon titles.
I have also been selected to compete for Great Britain (‘GB Age group Team’) at the 2017 World Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam and European Championships 2018 & 2017 in Estonia and Dusseldorf Germany. I was absolutely delighted to represent team GB and finish in the top 10 in each race.
So what does all this involve?
I would encourage everyone to enjoy a hobby outside of work and if you are interested come and join the triathlon club. Immense enjoyment can be experienced at every level and it is a fantastic way to meet new people and keep fit ready for the workplace!
Dr Rebecca Broomfield