Welsh Research and Education Network
Hot topics in research and medical education, in Wales and beyond
COVID – 19
Celyn Kenny ST3
A very unsettling time has fallen on us as trainees. The Coronavirus has arrived with its crown and we have many uncertainties facing us. What will happen to our training? Will we be deployed to the dark side of adult medicine? And a question we never thought we would be asking ….. what about Kaizen?
The RCPCH has written to us with many a letter stating that our wellbeing and safety is what is paramount to them and they will support our training needs in these times. We are all human and with some of us experiencing cancellation of exams, START assessment and the fast approaching CCT the anxiety is almost expected. However, the clear message from the Vice President of Education and Training at the college Dr David Evans is DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR TRAINING. We all have many unanswered questions on the months ahead however we must continue to support each other and work through these difficult times. Dr David Evans is working very closely with the trainee committee in minimising the effects Covid-19 will have on our training and we must be reassured by this. Current updates can be found at https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-rcpch-trainee-progression-uk-through-2020.
Despite the uncertainties we are facing with the Covid Pandemic one certainty we have is our colleagues! Our wellbeing is of the upmost importance over the coming few months and even though we will be expected to be robots, working in places we are not used to or even working a rota we are not used to, we need to recognise more than ever that its ok to not be ok. Wellbeing will be a big thing over the coming months, with heightened anxiety, overwhelming and upsetting circumstances, we do need to reach out to our colleagues and support each other. As NHS workers, we have access to many a self-care app* and also the Intensive Care Society has pulled up useful self-care advice**. Not forgetting our very own Stacey Harries who’s created excellent top tip reminders focusing on our well-being and Huw Davies’ Covid care and me website***. Thank you both.
In these coming few months our focus in work has changed to clinical facing medicine however it is very difficult to escape from the cloud of Kaizen which hangs over us. Our priorities are ever-changing as are our working expectation which adds to our stresses. Work based assessments, reflection and keeping an up to date portfolio is lower now on our priority list. However, the RCPCH is encouraging us to think outside the box when it comes to work based assessments and have stated that modifications will be made at ARCP. The RCPCH team has provided a ‘Quick fire’ guidance for us on how to reflect on our experiences while meeting various aspects of our progress curriculum. In addition to this our portfolios now contain Service – Experiences Development log where we can add these reflections.
As well as being mindful of our own well-being we also more than ever need to mindful of our patient’s well-being. Children are not as affected by Covid-19 as adults however are going through many uncertainties and changes themselves from school closures, being away from friends and families and also being aware of their parents worries of the Pandemic. More than ever we must not forget the mental health and well-being of children and young people. We must be honest with children and empower them of the vital role they have to play in self isolating and protecting their elders.
The next few months will be tough and our resilience will be put to the test. However, we have protective mindfulness strategies that we should and can purposefully engage in daily to help our mental wellbeing. The RCPCH send us weekly updates keeping us up to date and at Cardiff and Vale the daily updates from our CEO is helping moral by keeping us informed. There is a Welsh saying that I tell myself daily during this time “Daw eto haul ar fryn” the sun will shine again.
Welsh National Student Paediatric Conference 2020 – WREN Paediatrics
Alexandra Richards, 4thYear Medical Student
The first Welsh National Student Paediatric Conference took place on 1stFebruary 2020, at the University Hospital Wales. We hoped that we could encourage students to consider a career in Paediatrics and support a brighter future for paediatrics in Wales. It brought together healthcare students and foundation doctors from all over the UK alongside several inspirational paediatric healthcare professionals.
The day started with our first guest speaker, Professor John Gregory. John, who trained in Dundee, is a Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist and leads Paediatric Endocrine Training in Eastern Europe, Nairobi and Lagos. He introduced academic paediatrics to our delegates and shared several lessons that he had learnt from patients around the world, including a baby orangutan(!).
Then we listened to some oral presentations, giving students and healthcare professionals the opportunity to show-case their research in Paediatrics. We saw a range of talks highlighting topics from the “opioid epidemic” to ketamine use in the ED. Dr Chris Dadnam also introduced a fantastic opportunity for Foundation Trainees and Clinical Fellows interested in experiencing Paediatrics through taster days at the Children’s Hospital for Wales.
After being re-fuelled with tea and coffee, we were introduced to our second guest speaker, Marcus Wootton. Marcus manages the RCPCH programmes in Myanmar and Cambodia. He led an absolutely hilarious (and eye-opening!) talk about Global Paediatrics and the need for healthcare professionals around the world. Following this it was time for lunch, networking and poster presentations!
Once fed and watered, the delegates then had the opportunity to rotate through four interactive workshops relating to PEM, Neonatology, CAMHS and the future for Paediatrics. The Paediatric Emergency and Trauma Workshop was led by Drs Jordan Evans, Tom Cromarty and Assim Javaid. This workshop was highly interactive giving delegates the opportunity to decide on management decisions. One delegate shared that they “had learnt more about emergency medicine in that one workshop than 4 years in Medical School” - Well done PEM Team!
Our Neonatal Workshop was led by Drs Matthew Pickup and Joanna Webb who introduced the career pathway and opportunities in Neonatal Medicine. Drs Fiona Astill and Jenny Williams led a beautiful introduction to the sensitive subject of CAMHS. Talking about mental health is not easy but is becoming increasingly important within Paediatrics. Last but not least, the future for paediatrics… led by Dr Pramodh Vallabhaneni and Judith Van Der Voort. Will Alexa be able to diagnose patients in the foreseeable future?
It was then time for the Q&A panel highlighting research, education, training and opportunities within Paediatrics. Jordan Evans and I were also able to introduce our new research initiative: World CUPS. This supports both undergraduates and paediatricians with clinical research and QI projects. If you would like to get involved or would like some support with an on-going project, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org…
To end a fantastic day, we hosted a networking event where healthcare professionals from various paediatric sub-specialities were able to meet and inspire the future generation. Thank you to all the generous support and time given from paediatricians in Wales!
Dr Annabel Greenwood