Guest blogger Dr Sandheeah Ramdeny
Over The Wall, is an amazing activity camp which is free for children, teenagers and family who are living with serious health challenges. It is a national charity which provide support to kids who are faced with seious health challenges through transformational residential camps across the UK. There are different camps which take place at different times of the year some of the camps focused mainly on the kids living with serious health problems some on the siblings and some on the families. These kids who lives with their health problems are mostly affected by their illness and are unable to participate in fun activities normally enjoyed by their friends and peers. Consequently, these kids then have a reduced self-esteem and self-confidence which can negatively impact on their growth and their development.
The main purpose of Over the Wall, is to tackle these issues to allow a transformational change to occur in a safe environment with medical professionals being around to provide the medical care that they need so that the campers return with a new sense of their abilities and ambitions and improved self-confidence.
I choose to take part in the health challenge camp which was mainly focused on the kids with serious health challenges which took place in Strathallan, a really nice boarding school located in Perth, Scotland with breath taking landscapes. The medical team were named the ‘Beach Patrol’, which consisted of 5 paediatric Spr, on GP, one paramedic, two nurses. The camp lasted for a week and the first few days were mainly centred around simulation scenarios to deal with the different cases which could arise whilst in camp as well as becoming familiar with the medical condition of the campers and to learn about their individual management plan. There were around 60 campers with a wide range of medical condition ranging from Type 1 diabetic, ALL, sickle cell disease, cerebral palsy, medical condition requiring bowel washout, Haemophilla, Marfan syndrome, Noonan’s syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, kids with heart failure, patients on daily chemotherapy. Our normal day would start at 07 30 am in the morning and end around 2230 with 2 of us taking turns to do a night shift to provide cover each night. As the medical team, we were involved in giving the campers their medication before breakfast, during lunch and dinner time and accompanying the campers whilst they were carrying out their activities such as ensuring the young Type 1 diabetic would have their blood sugar level monitored and insulin administered accordingly. Each one of us would be closely attached to a camper who could potentially become sick so that we would be able to keep a close eye on them and we would accompany them to all the activities.
Most of the activities were based on the campus of the boarding school. For instance, each day would have activities planned such as archery, music, drama, swimming, arts and crafts. These activities would be focused to allow them to realise their potential and us trying to make them believe in themselves and go beyond what they can do. The evenings were based mainly on Talent night where the campers would do an interesting act, play, dance or music to demonstrate each of their talent.
There was one day, when the whole team went to Edinburgh to go to the international climbing arena. This was an excellent opportunity to allow campers to reach beyond their capabilities. For instance, on the camper in my group, a lovely 8 year old girl, who was afraid of heights and did not want to attempt any climbing. However, when she saw the other kids having so much fun and me being by her side telling her that I would be here and she could just attempt to climb and that she didn’t have to go too far. She was initially reluctant but the finally agreed. When she started climbing., she realised that she wasn’t scared anymore and was able to climb. When she got down, she was very emotional as she was now able to do something that she could not do. She said that she would never forget this experience.
Some of the statements of the campers from Over The Wall, “It is no exaggeration to say that my experience with OTW was on the best weeks of my life. It Is true what they say.”
To me, I do believe that Over The Wall provides an amazing opportunity to allow seriously ill children to go beyond the boundaries of their illness and have a positive impact for the rest of their life.
For more information go to www.otw.org.uk
NH Gent Belfort Hotel, Ghent, Belgium 22-24th June 2018
Annabel Greenwood ST3 Trainee, Wales Deanery
The 4th INAC was held in the beautiful and charming city of Ghent, Belgium. The INAC was established to provide a global platform for neonatologists and budding-neonatologists across the world to come together and share their work on the recent advances in neonatal medicine.
This year’s meeting was hosted by the Belgian Society of Neonatal Medicine, led by their President, Professor Filip Cools. An exciting programme was awaited, packed full of brilliant talks delivered by highly esteemed neonatologists, and included a showcase of diverse abstracts from all over the world. Delegates attended from over 50 countries across five continents.
The conference itself was perfectly situated, set upon a quaint cobbled street, running alongside the iconic canal that winds its way through the vibrant city.
From a personal perspective, I was extremely excited to present my work on organ donation on an international stage. Organ donation in neonatal medicine remains a fairly new concept, and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to fly the flag for organ donation, raising awareness and sharing my knowledge and experiences with others at such a prestigious event.
I was fortunate enough to be joined by my colleague and friend, Dr Chris Course, on the trip, who was presenting the WREN Project we collaborated on with Dr Zoe Howard, on postnatal antibiotic use across Wales. Our project fitted in perfectly with one of the principal themes of the conference, namely antibiotic stewardship.
There was a particular emphasis on neonatal neurology over the course of the weekend, and it was fascinating to learn of the latest developments in such a complex and challenging field. Professor Jose Honold discussed the concept of a ‘Neuro NICU’, a collaborative approach between neurologists, neonatologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, and specially trained neonatal neurology nurses, using specialised equipment to optimise the management of conditions such as high grade IVH, meningitis and encephalitis, seizures, HIE, and those with congenital cerebral malformations.
Another highlight was learning about the recent advances in neonatal lung ultrasound by Dr Luigi Cattarossi, to help guide the diagnosis and management of a number of lung diseases including RDS, TTN, pneumonia and pneumothoracies. This quick and focused bedside diagnostic approach has been shown to be as reliable as CXR in demonstrating lung pathology, resulting in less exposure to radiation for the neonate.
It was also of great interest to learn about the challenges faced in neonatal medicine in developing countries, and demonstrated the importance of the implementation of simple interventions e.g. bubble CPAP, in making a huge difference in the survival of preterm infants with respiratory distress.
Aside from the conference, there was plenty of time to relax and explore the local delights of Ghent. The city was electric as fans set-up camp in the square to cheer-on their country in the Football World Cup! I certainly enjoyed sampling the local delicacies, Belgian waffles being a particular highlight!
As the weekend drew to a close, I reflected on what had been a truly fantastic conference. The INAC 2018 provided an excellent platform for learning and certainly inspired new project proposals and ideas to take back to Wales! Next year's conference is planned to be in Tijuana, Mexico with a pre-conference in San Diego, so a little further afield, but another couple of top destinations for sure!
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
As a member of PERUKI and a representative for WREN I attended the update day at the RCPCH London office on June 4th 2018.
What is PERUKI?
Paediatric Emergency Research in the United Kingdom & Ireland (PERUKI) brings together clinicians and researchers who share the vision of improving the emergency care of children through high quality multi-centre research.
PERUKI also takes an active role in encouraging and mentoring new investigators in the acquisition of research skills, regarding this as a key area for the sustainability of PEM research going forward
Why is it important?
Paediatric Emergency Medicine,Can strengthen their research activities by working together across the nations. Enabling co-ordination of research activities, and focus on common goals and agendas will help to achieve stronger outcomes.
Large scale robust multi-centre clinical research will be developed and delivered over time, and translation into practice will be achieved throughout the health regions.
Can I become a member?
If you are interested go to the website (http://www.peruki.org/) and complete the sign up form.
What is going on?
So much fantastic research in a variety of states. Some studies have completed recruitment such as the ECLiPSE study (http://www.eclipse-study.org.uk/) which we were involved in at the University Hospital of Wales - I have never been as excited about research as when I managed to randomise the first patient we recruited.
Others are established and ongoing such as the CAP-IT study which we are also involved in recruiting for in Wales. Even more are just about to begin such as the FORCE study on Torus fracture management by Mr Dan Perry (@DanPerry), the NOVEMBR study on the use of non invasive ventilation in Bronchiolitis, Paul Macnamara and the SCIENCE study.
But the day was also to present problems and potential research ideas. Professor Steve Cunningham presented the problems with research into pre-school wheeze and need for clarification of the grey areas between the ages of 2-4 years and the conflicting evidence base which we currently have.
We had a reminder from Dr Tom Waterfield (@DrTomWaterfield) about the importance of establishing the clinical features which make a child with a non-blanching rash and a temperature more likely to have a meningicoccal sepsis than another illness. The rates of meningitis are falling - do we need to act now and progress this research before we miss the opportunity to capture this information. Which features make the child more likely to be unwell and which can differentiate those who are sick with those who are not.
Information was presented on the HEEADSSS tool and discussion led by Dr David James (@DrDaveJames) about the definition of adolescence - should it be defined as the ages 10-24 years? and they would rather be 'young people'. Young people presenting to the emergency department are a big group, and this is increasing. As emergency paediatricians can we do something for this group of the population and should we be. The HEEADSSS tool (Home, Education, Eating, Activities, Drugs, Sexuality, Suicide, Safety) is useful but only if you know what services are available in your area and how to signpost people to them.
Could we also utilize PERUKI to reduce variation in practice? An example discussed on the day was the use of metal detectors for ingested objects. There was no consistency about the level of training which people had to use the equipment as well as the areas of the body which were scanned. Also there was an inconsistency about what people did with the information when they used the equipment.
There was also discussion about findings elsewhere which have not been replicated in the UK data. For example the rotavirus vaccination has been associated with a reduction of seizures elsewhere but the data from the UK does not show this. Why is this? We use a different vaccine could this be the reason or are we not collecting the right data. This demonstrates to me an important feature of research which is to know what is going on and be able to pick up trends in data and potential secondary outcomes which may be unexpected.
Is bright! We've taken a few ideas forward for projects within UHW and I am excited to hear the results of the ECLiPSE study.
If you are interested; become a member, follow the twitter feed and attend an update day for more information. If you have any interest in collaborative working, getting involved in research or providing the best care for your patients I would suggest it's worth a look.
Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, Friday 8thJune 2018
Annabel Greenwood Paediatric ST3 Trainee
Broadly speaking, I feel our exposure to safeguarding training in the early years of paediatric training is limited.
Before you know it, you are the registrar on-call, out of hours, contacted with a complex child protection referral. As a junior paediatric trainee about to transition to middle-grade training, I will inevitably at some point, be faced with this scenario, and if I’m to be completely honest, the thought has previously caused a slight degree of tachycardia, hyperventilation and perspiration on my part, at the uncertainty of such a situation!
I therefore searched for a way to dispel my fears and came across a child protection simulation course set-up by Dr Emily Payne, ST8 Community Paediatric Trainee in Wales. This fantastic one-day, multiagency simulation course has certainly enhanced my confidence in the management of child protection cases and I would certainly recommend the day to my fellow trainees.
The course facilitates approximately 6-10 trainees, a perfect sized group to allow plenty of opportunity to ask questions and share our experiences with each other.
The day began with a couple of short lectures, setting the scene for the day, addressing some key safeguarding principles, including the rights and responsibilities of all doctors, and an outline of the child protection process. We also discussed the ‘ACE’ (Adverse Child Experiences) Study, which has demonstrated that for every 100 adults in Wales, 47 have suffered at least one ACE during their childhood, and 14 people suffered 4 or more events. ACE are stressful experiences occurring during childhood that directly harm a child e.g. sexual, physical or emotional abuse, or effect the environment in which they live e.g. domestic violence, mental health, parental separation. It has been shown that ACE impact across the life course, e.g. affecting neurodevelopment in the early years, potentially causing social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, and perhaps leading to the adoption of high-risk behaviours and crime later on in life.
Later in the morning we divided into pairs for 3 workshop sessions focusing on physical, emotional and sexual abuse respectively. These informal, small-group workshops were based on a clinical scenario and provided an excellent opportunity to voice any queries or concerns we had regarding the different categories of abuse.
In the afternoon, we worked through a number of simulation child protection scenarios with actors playing the role of the child’s parents, making the situation as realistic as possible. At the end of each scenario we re-grouped to provide feedback and discuss the case in more detail. I felt that this was a completely safe environment to practice leading challenging safeguarding scenarios, and found it extremely useful to receive constructive multiagency feedback, from doctors, social workers and the police.
The day was brought to a close with a simulated strategy meeting, and we all played the role of a different member of the multiagency team. This provided a fantastic insight into the role of each member of the team, and demonstrated how everyone works together to collate the evidence in order to generate an accurate account of events, to ensure the safety of the child.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and feel that I will now make the transition to middle-grade training with enhanced knowledge and confidence to manage challenging safeguarding scenarios.
For further information, please contact Dr Emily Payne on Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org
22nd June 2018, Swansea Marriot Hotel
Gill Smith, ST4 Paediatrics Trainee, Wales Deanery
The spring 2018 WPS meeting was held in a very sunny Swansea. The sun shone down on the beach next to the Marriot hotel which provided a beautiful view during breaks between some excellent presentations and some very thought-provoking talks.
The morning presentations were on very varied and interesting topics, which included audits and quality improvement projects from medical students, paediatric trainees and consultants.
Presentations from neonatology to general paediatrics meant that there was something for everybody. I particularly enjoyed the presentation by the co-host of the WPS meeting, Dr Carol Sullivan who spoke with enthusiasm and wit about writing a student textbook in paediatrics. It looks like it will be a hit. Just before coffee, we were delighted to see Dr Peter Dale adorned in a bright pink wig and pink cape to highlight and talk about the approaching change to the RCPCH curriculum-progress. He went pink for Progress. Details can be found on the RCPCH website. More fantastic presentations ensued after coffee and the morning session was rounded off with a presentation on the problems encountered by babies born in the late pre-term period. Often thought to be close to term that physiologically they would be similar to those babies born at term. Evidence suggests this is not the case and is certainly gave us food for thought prior to lunch.
A brilliant and tasty selection of food was available for lunch, finished by coffee and a chance to chat with the exhibitors. The lunch break was also a great opportunity to pop outside and enjoy the glorious sunshine and beautiful views overlooking the mumbles.
After lunch we were kept from any thoughts of postprandial sleepiness by another set of wonderful and stimulating presentations. The first lecture back, presented by Dr Sheena Durnin was perfectly timed about of the use of paediatric pain relief practices in emergency departments in the UK and Ireland. These practices were evaluated across 40 hospitals in the UK and Ireland. It found a wide variety of practices in terms of analgesia used, timing of analgesia policies, and availability of play specialists to name a few. Dr Durnin earned the award of best presentation. Congratulations!
Next up, another award winning presentation by Dr Rachel Morris who spoke so eloquently and with such passion about the implementation of family integrated care in a tertiary neonatal unit. The results were encouraging in that since the introduction of Family integrated care there had been an increase in breast feeding rates and a reduction in the length of stay and an anecdotal feeling that parents felt more in control and were ready for discharge sooner. Dr Morris won the best trainee award and this was thoroughly deserved.
Following another round of superb presentations, the mid afternoon session was rounded off with an absolute gem of a talk from invited speaker Dr Mark Stacey, consultant anaesthetist and Associate Dean in Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust. The talk entitled ‘A Bakers’ Dozen Resilience Skills’ got us up and thinking. We had to write ourselves thirteen points to aid us in our resilience at work and life and included sleep, meditation and taking care of yourself. Some very important points and recommendations made. This talk left many feeling invigorated and gave us something to talk about during the afternoon tea break over coffee and cake before the late afternoon session.
Fuelled with caffeine and carrot cake we had a further four short quick fire talks and the day was completed with a guest lecture from Dr Michael Farquhar, Consultant Paediatrician in children’s sleep medicine at Evelina Children’s hospital. His talk entitled “Rounded with a sleep: Why We Need To Talk About Fatigue” discussed the importance of sleep and gave a convincing argument for the need for all of us to sleep well. Night shift workers are encouraged to take power naps as this will improve our senses, judgement skills and general wellbeing. This talk went beautifully well with the Resilience talk and is definitely something we should all try and think about. Driving tired can be as bad as if driving after drinking alcohol.
We made our way to the beach to enjoy the rest of the sunshine before a delightful dinner with colleagues and friends. A lovely end to a fantastic day.
Once again the WPS conference was a great success, showing a very talented bunch of people. It was thought-provoking and inspiring and a great way to meet up with colleagues and brilliant guest speakers. I’m off to get some sleep before the winter meeting (I prescribed it to myself)!
Guest post from Dr Laura Potts, Clinical Leadership Fellow, Paediatric Trainee, Wales Deanery
The Medical Women’s Federation (MWF) was founded in 1917. They aim to advance the personal and professional development of women in medicine, to change discriminatory attitudes and practices and to work on behalf of women patients and their families.
This year’s spring conference in Cardiff covered a broad range of topics affecting women from living and working with a disability through to antenatal screening and management of HIV.
The first talk ‘Prenatal testing ; risks or certainty’ was given by Dr Annie Procter, Consultant clinical geneticist. She discussed the evolution of antenatal testing and its future directions. The potential scope of antenatal screening is vast, especially with the introduction of fetal DNA analysis in maternal blood, but routine screening is currently limited to the three major trisomies. This thought provoking talk advised caution; should we test for everything we can, just because we can? It also highlighted the importance of managing families expectations effectively.
Dr Olwen Williams spoke about the progress in HIV and AIDS management in recent years. Huge advance have been made and are now close to enabling affected women to have normal deliveries and breastfeed. Women are however, still presenting with late disease and later in life, with and opportunistic infection and Kaposi sarcoma. She also reinforced the results of the recent PARTNER study which showed that in those with an undetectable viral load, transmission to their partner did not occur. There is a new public health initiative promoting Undetectable = untransmissable.
There were also a number of abstract presentations. Of particular interest was the work being done at Singleton neonatal intensive care unit on family integrated care (FiCare), presented by Dr Rachel Morris (ST5 Paediatric trainee and trainee representative for the MWF in Wales) .
Family integrated care is centred around four main themes – staff education, parent education, creating the right NICU environment and providing psychosocial support. The concept originated in Estonia and was developed by Professor Lee and colleagues in Toronto. It has been shown to reduce length of stay, retinopathy of prematurity and infections and increase breast feeding rates. Singleton have already had a lot of success, receiving excellent feedback from families and demonstrating reduced length of stay and increased breast feeding rates.
During the afternoon there were a number of workshops. I attended Dr Cora Doherty’s session on wellbeing and the healthy team. For optimal team effectiveness and performance mind, body and spirit must be considered, that is to say the team needs a clear vision, good morale and trust and have their physical needs met. The concept of the ‘fitness’ of team members to be part of the team was also considered and how we as team members and leaders have a responsibility to protect our own wellbeing and that of our team.
During the remainder of the afternoon there was an interesting talk titled ‘menopause behind the headlines’. Whilst not particularly relevant to our patients it was a delightful insight into what some of us have to look forward to!
Dr Clarissa Fabre, President elect of the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) shared the results of the most recent MWIA members survey. This included some worrying statistics such as 57% of respondents felt that they had been discriminated in their career, with 41% reporting that they had experienced sexual harassment or bullying in relation to their work. Unfortunately younger doctors reported lover job satisfaction, more sexual harassment and bullying and a higher incidence of stress and burnout.
The conference ended with the Dame Hilda Rose lecture, given by Dr Sally Davies, focusing on the importance of stories such as Dr Frances Morgan’s. She was the first woman to receive a doctorate in Medicine in Europe and the first female doctor registered in Wales. She was a pioneer in medical practice and social reform, working all over the world as well as working as a General Practitioner in Wales.
These stories demonstrated how far women have come in achieving gender equality but that there is more work to be done, as highlighted by the recent MWIA survey. The MWF work hard to fight discrimination against women in medicine, for example, challenging Jeremy Hunt on the lack of impact assessment for the new junior doctor contact in England and helping to tackle the gender pay gap. An interesting quote was offered at the end of her talk, ‘good practice benefits all, bad practice affects women more’. I wonder what you all think of this?
The key messages from this lecture and the conference in general were that huge progress has been made by women in medicine and in women’s health and that we all have a responsibility to report and challenge bad practice and behaviour, and make looking after ourselves and each other a priority.
For anyone interested in finding out more about the MWF their website can be found at www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk
Dr Tim Warlow, Paediatric Palliative Care GRID trainee, Wales Deanery
Few of us can forget recent cases in the press of Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard. Such tragic cases of breakdown in relationship between families and care teams. I’m sure that alongside my own cries you have had the thought ‘Surely things didn’t have to get to this!’ These cases bring into stark clarity the importance of our skills of communication and our ability to put into practice the ethical and legal duties to involve of families and children in decision making. These cases are nightmare scenarios, but at some points in our career we will face similar challenging situations.
Aware of these issues, the All Wales Paediatric Palliative Care Team received £20,000 of Welsh Government funding to improve the skills of paediatricians in these areas. Our response was to organise a series of free workshops exploring issues of ‘communicating difficult news’, decision making and advanced care planning in paediatrics. April 2018 saw the first of these workshops in the fantastic Copthorne Hotel, Culverhouse Cross. Within a month we had filled all our places and the response on the day from delegates was fantastic.
The truly multidisciplinary event was attended by consultants, community nurses, therapists, trainees and hospice staff, all of whom engaged amazingly in communications skills breakout groups and seminars. There was time to explore advanced communication skills, read and use the Paediatric Advanced Care (PAC) Plan, and consider the views of families and young people in planning. The highlight of the day was without a doubt an interview with one of our parents whose son sadly died under the care of our service. She discussed the value of good communication, of doctors being prepared and sensitive, and the benefit of early and co-ordinated planning.
The good news is that there are several further days being organised, one for each of the health boards in Wales. The next of these is in Swansea where Dr Griffiths will be using trained actors to facilitate what will be an exhilarating day of interactive learning together with other professionals. Please contact email@example.com further information about upcoming days and to sign up. All workshops are free of charge and are in great venues with food provided.
If doing a good job of communicating and parallel planning with families excites your interest, these days are for you. If you want to run a mile, these days are even more for you!
Let’s get to grips with the really difficult stuff of paediatrics, lets help families to live well and for those whose lives are cut short, to live well right to the end.
Dr Annabel Greenwood (ST3), inspired by Dr Ian Morris (Consultant Neonatologist, UHW)
Relevance– How important is the content of the article to me, my patients, and my practice? The title and the abstract will help you answer these questions.
Internal validity– How sound is the study? i.e. how accurate is the study? Look at the methods to help ascertain this.
External validity– How applicableis the article to my practice? i.e how much can I generalize it? The methods and results sections will help you assess the external validity.
Now, with those 3 key principles in mind, let us picture the scene…
You’re an ST7 trainee, approaching the end of your paediatric training, years of hard work and dedication behind you, your CCT within touching distance. You’re at your START assessment, the last hurdle before consultancy, and now for your critical appraisal station. Twenty minutesto read the article AND then appraise?! How on earth am I going to do this I hear you cry?!
Stay calm, take a deep breath, and burst forth the 9 key questions that will help you ace the station!
Describe the study
What is the type of study (principal method)
What type of question is being asked? (e.g. Diagnostic? Therapeutic? Economic?)
Where was the study carried out? (is it multicentred or single study)
What are the key features?
Describe the research question
What is the relevance of the question?
This is usually described in the introduction. Is it an important question? Is it worth reading on? Does it correlate to your clinical practice/scenario?
Describe the methods
Use the PICO template, but expand….
What are the inclusion/exclusion criteria? Is there any masking or blinding?
Are there any secondary outcomes?
Comment on the internal validity i.e. how accurate is the study?
Use various checklists e.g. CONSORT, STROBE, PRISMA
Is there a risk of bias?
Summarise the primary results
Summarise the key secondary results(briefly)
Comment on the External validity– i.e. describe the generalizability of these findings
Were the inclusion/exclusion criteria reflective?
Consider the paper in conjunction with other studies i.e. how does it fit with the evidence out there?
Overall, does this paper help you answer your clinical question? Important to look at the clinical context!
….And just like that, you did it!
9 logical, concise steps to critical appraisal for the START assessment. Of course, this is only a suggested approach, but one which I will most certainly be adopting for future critical appraisals. Now, where did I put that journal?.....
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
Why is it important?
The environment created in the workplace is vitally important to the wellbeing of the staff who work there. In clinical medicine this also translates into the wellbeing of patients and ultimately their safety. So what can you do, as a leader, to ensure that your workplace environment is as positive and functional as it could be?
This topic was first visited during the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) conference in Liverpool and covered in the Leadership blog in December. It was covered here by Henry Stewart. He runs the Happy company, which has been listed as one of the 20 best workplaces in the UK for five successive years (www.happy.co.uk). Henry Stewart has also written “The Happy Manifesto” He has identified that people work better when they are challenged and given freedom. As a manager we should be enabling people to innovate, and rather than focusing on weaknesses we should develop our strengths. Mistakes should be celebrated and, within the boundaries of clear principles and targets, team members should be given freedom and ownership of projects.
The topic has come up time and time again within the Leadership program I am currently enrolled on. Happier workplaces function better, lead to greater innovation and better results.
What can you do?
Within a quality improvement program provided by Cardiff and Vale Health board, we recieved a afternoon workshop to discover how we can use positive psychology to improve our own happiness and that of our workplace. This was delivered by Mark Hodder.
People tend to currently live with the mindset "I will be happy when....I've lost weight/I have a promotion/I own a bigger house" Thus success creates happiness.
Rather than this way of looking at happiness what would happen if we looked at it from the opposite direction, shifting our paradigm and focusing on happiness bringing success? Learnt helplessness is a huge problem, but now we know this we can challenge this and learn positivity.
When driving home from work try thinking of 3 positive things which happened that day. They don't have to be big things, just build it into your daily routinue.
In work in order to build positive relationships we need 3 positive interactions to every negative one. Can you within your workplace build in positive feedback or interactions.
How often do you praise people or say thank you? Could you do this more?
Think about how you motivate your team. For praise to be most beneficial it should be given for effort rather than ability. By praising for ability you run the risk of creating a fixed mindset which then has the potential to cause a drop off in performance. Effort and recognising hard work by saying "Thank you" or "I can see you have put a lot of work into ..." A growth mindset is created promoting positivity and providing motivation.
When you encounter a problem or a difficulty could you
Dispute, Distract, Distance?
This technique creates a mindset that setbacks are tempory, local and changeable rather than spiralling into a negative perspective or allowing negative feelings to dominate a workplace. Problems are actively dealt with.
What about your face?
Consider who your face is for? .... (clue it's not for you!)
Your face and body language are ways of communicating to other people. Faces have so much to give away we just have to focus on them and see it. In the same way, we need to be aware of what our face is saying about us and how we can use this to our advantage - smiling is contagious! When we are interacting with people often their facial expressions and body language mirror our own, therefore our behaviour and attitude matters. Think about what your daily facial expressions project about your emptions onto your team.
And finally ..... helping other people will help you. 5 random acts of kindness a day have been shown to reduce cortisol levels and thus reduce stress, see how many you can build into your day.
The Happy Manifesto: Make Your Organiszation a Great Workplace By Henry Stewart
The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Sucess, Confidence and Happiness By Prof Steve Peters
http://www.markhodder.net/ - Links to articles from the workshops and contact details for Mark Hodder.
Guest Post: Dr Roisin Begley
Preparing for RCPCH Progress: What you need to know
2018 is the year of huge change in paediatric training with the introduction in August of the new RCPCH Progress Curriculum.
All trainees will move from the current curriculum to RCPCH Progress, unless they are due to CCT before 15 September 2019.
You will not need to re-demonstrate achievement of training levels already completed under the old curriculum ie Level 2 trainees will not need to evidence again that they have met the requirements of Level 1 training.
Preparing for Progress: guidance and resources
What is different about RCPCH Progress?
The new curriculum is based on a framework of learning outcomes as opposed to the current list of competencies, and incorporates the Generic Professional Capabilities the GMC expect of all doctors. Collecting evidence for an outcomes based curriculum will be very different from getting a competency signed off. This new approach will allow greater flexibility for you to demonstrate achievement.
The curriculum comprises:
Example: LEVEL 1:
Curriculum Learning Outcome 2
1. Effective working relationships:
• Demonstrates skills and strategies for effectively consulting with babies, young children, adolescents and their families in such a way that the child or young person and their family feel able to talk about difficult or emotional issues.
• Manages disruptive or antisocial behaviour in children, adolescents and families in clinical settings if it occurs.
• Applies knowledge of how different factors influence a patient’s journey and how they may impact effective communication and cause anxiety about treatment and illness.
• Communicates, with support, with parents and the rest of the family of a patient who has an acute or chronic illness, is hospitalised, or has died.
• Discusses the indications, benefits and possible risks associated with a procedure to obtain informed consent from patients and parents or carers for a procedure that the trainee is competent themselves to perform.
A comprehensive range of materials have been produced and are now available from the RCPCH Progress webpage.
This webpage, www.rcpch.ac.uk/progress is regularly updated with additional resources and information.
Opinions from those using Progress
Dr Sophie Con, Wales Deanery Paediatric SHO
"The new curriculum is certainly more succinct than the last. It does take some time to find your way around it though. Sometimes you wish it would be more specific! I think it is more achievable to find an illustration for each point than the previous curriculum"
Dr Tim Warlow, Paediatric Palliative Medicine Trainee, Wales Deanery
“Our speciality was chosen alongside a small selection of others to trial the new RCPCH progress curriculum. You will be pleased to know that this is an immeasurable improvement on the old curriculum. There are key learning objectives within which are ‘key capabilities’. We link these to our portfolio entries. They are far fewer in number and much better worded than in the previous version.
The whole layout and menu selection is much more intuitive, with submenus relating logically within their categories. This is a refreshing change from what was a baffling and frustrating previous system. In combination with what is a much better new portfolio in ‘kaizen’, it feels as through the portfolio might be becoming fit for purpose as a way of signposting our learning, helping us to monitor our progress, and enabling our supervisors to see a clearer picture of what we have been doing. Well done RCPCH!”
by Chris Course, Chair WREN
The Welsh Research and Eduction Network (WREN) Spring Study Day took place at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend on 11th May 2018. Once again, attendance was well supported by doctors from across the training grades (and an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner!), as well as Dr Huma Mazhar (from Singleton Hospital), Dr Naomi Simmons (from Glan Clwyd Hospital) and Dr Judith van der Voort (Head of School) joining us for the day to learn more about how the network is getting on and our current activities.
Our educational programme was once again diverse, with talks from Dr Phil Connor and Rhian Thomas-Turner about the new Children and Young Adult’s Research Unit at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales and their plans for increasing junior doctor involvement. Dr Ian Morris then gave an excellent strategy for rapid-fire critical appraisal, with an emphasis on the START assessment (slides available on our website, or on request). Dr Gethin Pugh from the Quality Improvement Skills Team at the Wales Deanery also gave us an introductory workshop to Quality Improvement, as well as teaching us the basics of the Plan, Do, Act, Study model and signposting the further QI training opportunities available.
The WREN Blog continues to go from strength to strength and now receives over 500 hits a month on our articles, under the editorial leadership of Dr Rebecca Broomfield and Dr Annabel Greenwood. They are looking for contributors too, so if you have something to share or a topic you’d love to write about, please get in touch.
Four new projects are being undertaken via the network, three of which are starting now. Details of the WREN projects and their project leads are below. Project leads can be contacted on the Current Project Portfolio page. We will be disseminating these projects amongst the units, but if you would like to get involved in any of the projects in WREN’s current portfolio, please contact the project leads (details below). If you have an idea for a project you would like to develop with WREN’s help, please contact either myself or Siwan Lloyd via our website, or using the details at the top of this newsletter.
The next WREN study day is planned for November 2018 (confirmed date to follow), and we hope that you will be able to join us for another stimulating and thought-provoking study day, building on from the success of the last!
Newly Launched Projects
Project Title: ‘The Impact of the Meningococcal B Vaccination on Septic Screens’
Project Leads: Dr Ele Jones (ST5) and Dr Rebecca Towler (ST5)
Description: Pyrexia is a common adverse effect of the Meningocccal B vaccination. NICE guidelines exist for the management of fever <3 months of age and recommends investigations for sepsis for pyrexial infants but does not make comment of post-vaccination infants. This project aims to retrospectively assess how infants are managed in paediatric and neonatal units who are presenting with fever post-Meningococcal B vaccination over a 12-month period.
Project Title: ‘Aiming to improve paediatric trainees confidence with ECG interpretation’
Project Leads: Dr Ankita Jain (ST6)
Description: The Paediatric Cardiology department at UHW gets several referrals a month from various hospitals to provide their opinion on ECGs done on children for various clinical indications. We would like to help improve confidence in paediatric ECG interpretation, and have developed a structured online educational module. Using a pre- and post-quiz on ECG interpretation it is hoped to show how skills can be improved. The link for the quiz is https://goo.gl/forms/2Qj8NBZHBdOYL33d2
Project Title: ‘Can a resus drug App help improve accuracy and reduce stress in time-critical scenarios?’
Project Lead: Dr Jordan Evans (ST5)
Description: Accurate calculation of WETFLAG resus drugs is critical, but can be affected by stress and the time-critical nature of emergency scenarios. This project aims to assess whether a smartphone app can help to improve prescribing accuracy and reduce doctor stress levels in resus situations. A pilot study has shown an App to be effective, and this project aims to assess larger numbers of doctors and nurses using the technology in simulated scenarios.
Project Title: ‘Head injuries on the postnatal wards’
Project Lead: Siwan Lloyd, ST3
Description: A pilot study at UHW has demonstrated that infants being accidentally dropped on the postnatal ward is not an uncommon occurrence, however their management and level of investigation following injury was very variable. Following on from this, an all Wales study is underway to determine the incidence, risk factors and management used, with the aim of producing a best practice guideline for these infants and their parents.
Project Title: ‘Re-audit of the Management of Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Preterm Infants’
Project Lead: Chris Course, ST4
Description: Following the initial audit in 2014/2015 by WREN, a Wales Neonatal Network guideline was introduced for the Management of RDS in Preterm Infants in June 2016. The re-audit has commenced March 2018 and is running for six months to assess how the new national guideline has affected patient care.
Project Title: ‘Management of feverish illness in infants <3 months old’
Project Lead: Blanche Lumb, ST1
Description: Do we consistently meet the NICE standards set in the investigation of sepsis in <3 month old infants? This project aims to assess that the appropriate investigations occur in a timely manner, and that appropriate empirical treatment is commenced across paediatric assessment units in Wales. Where we chose to deviate from the guidance, are we documenting this appropriately?
Upcoming Projects (Planned Start September 2018)
Project Title: ‘Evaluating the impact of the introduction of the SEREN program on Type 1 Diabetes Management in Children’
Project Lead: Matthew Ryan, ST6
Description: SEREN is a structured education package for children newly diagnosed with T1DM. This project will assess SEREN’s impact by using Quality of Life questionnaires, serial HbA1c measurements and number of DKA admissions for children diagnosed with T1DM in the years pre and post introduction.
Dr Annabel Greenwood
As Trainee Representative for Paediatric and Neonatal Organ Donation for Cardiff and the Vale Health Board, I was very much looking forward to this opportunity to spread the word and raise awareness about organ donation.
The concept of organ donation in paediatric practice is relatively new but currently very topical, and a recent article in the March edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood highlighted the fact that despite recent attempts to promote organ donation, donation rates remain fairly static, particularly in the neonatal intensive care setting.
The knowledge and experience of paediatric organ donation amongst healthcare professionals is limited, and it was therefore of no surprise that when we enquired at the beginning of the simulation day whether participants had ever been involved in a case of organ donation, only two had previous experience, one of which was in adult medicine.
The paediatric simulation day was the first of its kind in Wales, and it was fantastic to see such a wide variety of the multidisciplinary team in attendance, all enthusiastic to learn more about organ donation and the processes involved.
The day began with a case presentation from Gail Melvin, one of the brilliant ‘SNODs’ (Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation). She recalled one of her experiences of neonatal organ donation and it provided a great insight into the referral process from the consideration of organ donation, right through to harvesting in theatre.
This set the scene perfectly for the simulation scenario, as the aim was to work through a case from presentation to the emergency department, to withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, prior to organ donation. The scenario was broken down into sections, with a debriefing session after each section to optimise the opportunity for discussion. Actors played the role of the child’s parents, allowing candidates to practice the often difficult and sensitive encounters with families regarding the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.
The afternoon session consisted of workshop sessions, covering brainstem death testing and communication skills stations relevant to organ donation. There was also a brief session outlining a quality improvement project I am currently undertaking aiming to raise awareness of paediatric and neonatal organ donation at a trainee level.
The day was brought to a close with a parents’ account of their personal experiences of organ donation. This really hit home the huge impact organ donation can have not only on those receiving a donation, but also on the families of the donor. It was incredible to hear the strength the family were able to take in the face of extreme adversity and despair, in the knowledge that their child was able to help save the life of others through the donation of their organs.
The organ donation team received excellent feedback regarding the simulation day, and following its success, we hope to build upon our education programme, extending similar opportunities to healthcare professionals across Wales. A date for the diary is an upcoming organ donation deanery study day in August…final details to be confirmed!
If you have any queries about paediatric organ donation or would like to get involved, please feel free to contact me.
For more information on organ donation please visit:
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
Photo credits to Dr Sara Long, Dr Kathryn James, Dr Laura Potts
Leadership course run in MIT Boston USA
As Clinical Leadership Fellows we were privileged to have the opportunity to attend a Leadership Course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 5 of us hopped on a plane at the end of March and flew over to Boston in order to attend
Applied Neuroscience: Unleashing Brain Power for You and Your People
We flew in the day before the course and in true tourist fashion made the most of the first day getting over jet lag before the course began. None of us had been to Boston before and despite venturing out to an Irish bar with live music on our arrival we were all up bright and early on the Monday morning. (Thanks jet lag!) We grabbed our lonely planet guides and re-embraced our travelling student identities to explore a fantastic city.
We spent the day following the Freedom Trail - Boston has a very limited history but what it does have it exploits amazingly! The trail lead us through the start of the American Independence and British invasion. We stopped off in the harbour at lunch time and took a (freezing cold!) boat trip too see all the islands. We continued our trail and then extended it to include a viewing of the bronze duck statues in the main park. We watched the sunset in the tallest building in Boston with cocktails that were stronger than they tasted!
The course was facilitated by Dr Tara Swart (@TaraSwart) She holds a BSc in Biomedical Science and PhD in Neuropharmacology from Kings college London. She read Medicine at Oxford University gaining a BM BcH qualification. She is an executive coach and is passionate about disseminating simple, pragmatic neuroscience-based messages that change the way people work.
This course was not aimed at medics, and I do feel that we would have benefited from a slightly more rigorous focus on the scientific evidence for some of the science taught on the course, however, this was not it's aim and in fact may have alienated some of the audience who were present. Having looked into the evidence presented since the course, there is a significant scientific knowledge base behind the methods taught.
There has never been a room where, as a medic, Imposter Syndrome has a more appropriate setting. The course was full of chief executives and people who have multi-million pound contracts in their back pockets and more staff working underneath them imagined possible! However, the problems encountered and the neuroscience to increase behaviors and lead change were relevant to both the medical and the commercial setting. The insight which mixing with leaders from completely different worlds to our own has allowed us to gain was worth attending the course alone.
Right from the word go this course was structured differently to the majority. We sat on circular tables with 4-5 other delegates but at the back of the room were juggling balls, skipping ropes and standing desks. There were refreshments available through the whole day (although, caffeine was removed at 14:00 - it reduces your sleep quality after this time) and at the start we were actively encouraged to access refreshment as needed and walk around the classroom freely. While the skipping only occurred in the breaks some people did take advantage of the juggling balls and juggled at points throughout the teaching. While we learnt on the course that social safety is the area of culture in the workplace and wellbeing which has the biggest impact on the brain the next biggest area is physical activity. By standing up and engaging in a physical activity such as skipping or juggling we were actively engaging our brains and increasing our neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.
Brains tend to hold onto old pathways, in order to create new pathways you need to rest, fuel, hydrate and oxygenate your brain. by exercising you increase the release of brain derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) which helps with the formation of new pathways.
Neuroplasticity is an important concern when thinking about the neuroscience of leadership. We do not unlearn habits or behaviour, this is not possible but we are able to overwrite these pathways. Translated for use in leadership this could be as simple as giving people an alternative option rather than simply managing an undesirable or ineffective behaviour by saying "don't do that". Making new neural connections for behaviour is tough, but it is the first time which requires the most effort. As you repeat the same pattern of behaviour you strengthen this pathway and therefore make it more automatic.
There are 2 areas of the brain involved with learning new behaviours; the cortex - which is learning by instruction and the limbic system which is learning by experience. Knowledge/organisation of reality happens in the pre-frontal cortex but feeling and managing anxiety is under the control of the limbic system. A brain stem reflex is often change preventing within behaviour modification. Logic is not enough in order to modify behaviour and promote change you need to connect the 2 systems.
How can we use neuroscience to our advantage in the workplace?
The top 7 emotional drivers within the workplace are:
Communication is one key area where neuroscience can give us the edge over others. Using your limbic system to promote bonding and enhance the emotions above can give you an edge in leadership. Trust is the number 1 emotion but trust uses more resources than mistrust, and is therefore more difficult to employ.
Can you use neuroscience to create a better bond and increase trust? Yes, and it's as simple as eye contact. When you next communicate face to face with somebody try actively looking with your right eye into their left eye. This will activate their right limbic system which has been shown to create a strong bond. A bond enables colleges to feel more valued and creates a better working culture and environment. I've been trying this out since I returned and I feel that it has enabled me to shortcut some relationship building and create a quicker more valuable relationship. As far as I know, nobody has thought I've been looking at them strangely or even been aware that I am trying out this technique so even if it initially feels awkward for you it's worth a try! Face to face communication is always better, so make the effort to do this when possible.
The role of stress ....
The right ventral lateral pre frontal cortex is active in stress and has a role in regulating emotions. This area responds to pain - notably physical pain causes the release of natural painkillers whereas psychological pain does not, it also contains cortisol receptors. Cortisol is a fight or flight response hormone. It has a natural morning spike and then maintains low levels throughout the day accept in crisis or when there is a threat to survival. Having too much cortisol can lead to physical manifestations from yourself or the team which you are leading. These include poor sleep, irritability and craving chocolate/caffeine. The physical symptoms can detract from your brain power and demand attention, too much cortisol can also decrease your immunity and increase your abdominal fat thus impacting your physical health. Emotion biases all decisions and stress/fear biases decisions to the emotional system through the cortisol pathways. Interestingly some studies have shown that cortisol levels can be transmitted to others in a similar way to pheromones. Therefore a leader who has high levels of cortisone has the potential to expose others to them as well as themselves.
Stress is just one of the recognised threats to your brain power in work, others include uncertainty and uncontrollability. As a leader you do have the power to influence these for your team. Can you adapt your leadership in order to make your team feel more in control of the tasks which they are performing? You can definitely reduce uncertainty.
We did a good exercise on the course which focused on re-framing our responses. As a leader when a suggestion is made by a member of your team the automatic response is to say "No". In order to say yes it requires more mental energy as a leader but improving your ability to this can increase the level of control which your team feel they have and promote the positive emotional drivers outlined above. We were tasked in pairs of making a suggestion to overcome a problem to our partner. Initially they had to respond with "No" Then we had to re-ask the question and they had to a respond with "Yes, but .." thus entertaining the idea but outlining the potential barriers stopping this from happening. As the questioner we than had to once again make the same suggestion but our partner needed to respond with "Yes, and..." Using "Yes, and .." reduces the social isolation of your team and increases the attachment and bonding created. Oxytocin, which is released when creating a good bond, shapes the neutral circuitry of trust adaption. Reward and attachment emotions regulate emotion and improve decision making. Thus by utilising this type of leadership within your team you can promote good decision making and reduce stress. There is lots to gain
A 10% improvement in performance is equivalent to an extra 23 working days annually.
Other key points from day 1
During the course all food was provided and the menu was created to promote healthy eating and ensure that the nutrients provided promoted brain agility. It was followed up with an evening reception - I'm not sure where the wine fits into a healthy lifestyle but it was definitely welcome after all the information provided during the course.
Our thanks also have to go to Mr William Fleming, a fellow course participant who took us out to sample the local seafood in the evening, but also allowed us to pick his corporate brain with ideas that could benefit our leadership styles and leadership within the NHS. (I think/hope he learnt a little bit from us too!)
During day 1 we were taught that people are 15% more productive on the days that they do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in the morning. While i'm not sure this counts as aerobic exercise, we took this on board and as a group of Clinical Fellows all attended the precourse early morning yoga session. The picture above is the view from the glass walled classroom we were practicing in, this rivals the morning session of beach yoga I took part in while travelling for the most breathtaking yoga view. It was a calming start to the day, followed by a breakfast of foods, as yesterday specifically selected to enhance wellbeing and increase brain agility.
We were more focused on day 2 on our own strengths and weaknesses and what we can do to improve our leadership while increasing our own resilience and mental toughness. If we can maintain our mental toughness and resilience as leaders then we promote a culture within our organisation that it is important to do the same.
"Nobody would get into a car without filling it up or maintaining it - Why do we not do this with ourselves?"
Maximise your potential
Prior to the course we completed a Neurozone questionnaire. This is a detailed questionnaire which enables you to focus on small changes you can make to maximise your own potential and therefore improve your leadership. Two of my areas for focus are improving my sleep and increasing the diversity of my exercise. Both of these require a small change but have the potential to have a big impact on my reserves.
Culture and patterns of behaviour and beliefs frequently impact perception, cognition and actions. You have a responsibility as a leader to use your skills to create a culture where your team members thrive. Your actions as a leader speak louder than the word which you use.
My take home messages ...
What am I doing differently since the course?
Further reading: “Neuroscience for Leadership: Harnessing the Brain Gain Advantage” Tara Swart, Kitty Chisholm & Paul Brown
We had a day to play with before flying home, part of my year is focusing on simulation and medical education. Therefore I took advantage of being in Boston to visit the 'Centre for Medical Simulation' which has a worldwide reputation. There was a course going on that day and so I got to see their sim suite in action and speak to their faculty. It was very interesting to note that they are also focusing on the educational value of simulation and how we can evidence this. Their facilities are excellent and it was exciting to be able to spend a short time there.
The afternoon was spent at the Boston Tea Party museum learning about leaders who promoted a change by making a stand - very relevant to the topics which we had been covering, and yet another leadership perspective.
Boston was fantastic, I would recommend it as a city break. The course was an amazing opportunity to understand some of the rational behind current leadership techniques and put a neuroscience basis to their implementation. I have a lot of areas to work on to maximise my own leadership potential and am looking forward to trialling these out over the coming years.
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
Photo credits to Dr Sara Long
Please read this blog with Nickelback "What are you waiting for?" playing in the background. It encapsulates the mood i'm aiming for! https://youtu.be/w-Ng5muAAcg
Nestled somewhere near the middle of Wales, with very limited phone signal and Wi-Fi that intermittently functions is Elan Valley. Its a stunning location to explore for people who love outdoor adventures and the location for a fantastic 3 day team building residential which was facilitated by Academi Wales as a part of the Pg Cert qualification I am enrolled in during my year as a Clinical Leadership Fellow. It is an amazing place to focus on team-working and your role within that team.
During the residential course we studied the Belbin Team Roles, how they interact together and our personal preferences. My team was facilitated by Phil Davies, who is an ex Wales international player and currently the Head coach at the Nambian national Rugby union side. As a head coach of an international team, Phil offered a different perspective on team working from the traditional NHS viewpoint. (And I've stolen the Nickelback song from him - Thanks Phil!)
Team-working is something which often doesn't get enough time within the NHS. By being aware of its importance and how you function within a team you should be able to more readily achieve your goals.
Belbin Team Roles
What is Belbin?
A team role as defined by Dr Meredith Belbin is "A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way" He has grouped these roles into 9 clusters of behaviour. When you take the Belbin self reported questionnaire you get a break down of your personal team preferences. The outline of the roles is described in the picture below. You don't need a person for each role to create a good team but you should try to consider all perspectives. It may be also useful to look at a team which isn't functioning to its best, does everybody within that team have the same preference and therefore the same perspective on a problem. Having the same preference can be a source of conflict as well as preventing the team achieving its goal.
My primary preference was the 'Shaper' role with my secondary preference being 'Resource Investigator' As a group of Leadership fellows we had surprisingly diverse results, reinforcing that no type is better or worse in a leadership role.
The report was slightly different from the other personality or preference reports we have completed this year. Instead of looking at areas to develop we were encouraged to focus on developing our strengths rather improving on our weaknesses.
Each role has it's own strengths and weaknesses, knowing the preference of your team member allows you to distribute workload to their strengths, thus improving the efficiency of your team. For example, I had a low score for the 'Completer Finisher' role therefore, as a leader, I need to identify a person on my team who has strengths in this role in order to ensure my team actually completes their tasks!
Once we had learnt the theory and our own preferences we were split into teams in order to put this into practice. The teams were selected in order to ensure that the majority of the roles were covered in within team.
The details of what exactly happened in Elan Valley will forever stay amongst the team who attended. (Trust is an important part of creating a functioning efficient team environment!) But we participated in a variety of tasks that allowed us to explore our own role and communicating and motivating the other team members.
The morning focused on goal based tasks. Each task started had a time limit and started with a printed instruction. Each task had rules which could not be broken and a goal which needed to be achieved. An example of one of the tasks we undertook was a maze task. A maze was laid out out of sight from the team and we were put into a large square laid out on the ground unable to see the maze. Our team was only allowed to communicate within the box, only 1 team member was able to leave the box at any one time and all members had to successfully navigate their way across the maze to complete the task. There was of course a time limit on this. Our first team member returned to tell us the structure of the maze, we had to work out, remember and communicate a pattern of boxes which we could step on to get across to the other side of the maze. This task acutely demonstrated to me the importance of others perspectives and the importance of communication. People like to be communicated with differently depending on their thought processes. (Just in case you were wondering we managed to get all of our team members across within the time limit and only received one penalty!)
The afternoon was structured slightly differently. The whole cohort was brought back together and we were to function as subsections of an overarching team. The team goal was to earn 'money'. The money would then be spend on unlocking clues which would give us the location of a prize which we were aiming to achieve. We could earn money by completing a variety of tasks. Tasks were diverse and each has a value attached to it. We split into our sub-groups and decided which tasks we wanted to complete in order to earn money and then spend the afternoon working through these tasks. Again, of course there was a time limit set on this. All the subgroups had to come back together to decide how this money was spent.
Some of the afternoon tasks were more adventurous and required taking team work to a whole other level. My personal favorite task was the "leap of faith". This involved climbing up a tiny rope ladder onto a small triangle platform which was positioned high into the trees and then jumping off. You were harnessed and your team members were in control of the ropes. In order to work your way up the ladder you needed to trust your team members not to let you fall with the ropes, you needed a team member to anchor your ladder to stop it flapping about in the wind and enable you to climb straight and you needed encouragement from the team when halfway up you suddenly realised that it was a long way down! Despite ripping a pair of jeans I managed to get to the top and jump. It was a good exercise in overcoming barriers and how important support and trust were within a team. (Just for completeness we earned enough money and managed to get a well earned box of chocolates!)
Take home messages ....
I learnt a surprising amount about myself and team roles from participating in the residential course. However, the most important of these was
The role of communication in good team-working cannot be underestimated. It is vitally important especially when you've realised that people don't all think like you or have the same perspective as you do. Obviously this covers the face-to-face communication when outlining a task but also the importance when managing a large busy team in communicating the overarching vision of the team which you want all members to progress towards. It is very difficult to motivate and drive forward a team when you do not all have a shared vision as to what you want to achieve. I would suggest reflecting on how you manage a team and the actions you use to motivate other members. How many conflicts or mistakes have been due to poor communication?
Other than communication the importance of looking at things from others perspectives was emphasised to me throughout these personally challenging activities. When faced with a problem, taking on a different viewpoint or consulting a member of your team who you know has a different role preference to you can fundamentally change how you choose to tackle it. As a part of this it is also important to remember the importance of your role within your team, you may have a perspective which nobody else has considered.
Do you need to work on
Listening is a vital part of communication.
However, it's importance can often get overlooked when concerned about getting your opinion heard and shouting loud enough to have your say in a team activity. How many times do you have a conversation where you are already planning your answer? the next point your want to make? or even thinking about what you are having for dinner that evening.
(Unsurprisingly) communication works best when you actually listen to the people in your team. When you honestly reflect on this can you say that you always do this? Most people don't. Next time you are communicating with a college try giving them all of your attention, focusing in on what they say and responding to this rather than your previously planned out structure of how you want the conversation to go. Since trying this out after the residential I have noticed a significant improvement in my communications and my ability to influence change.
Things I am currently working on developing are:
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
What is it?
TALK has been developed to give a framework to debriefing. The aim of the entire project is to promote a supportive culture of learning and patient safety in clinical settings. Reflection is a vital part of healthcare and the tool promotes guided reflection enabling teams to work together in order to improve and maintain patient safety, create a supportive workplace culture and increase efficiency.
The project has some important values which also function to promote a positive workplace and enhance staff well being.
Reflection is encouraged to be constructive, non judgemental, and can be initiated by any member of the team.
It would be worth having a discussion within your workplace about debriefing. Do you debrief as a whole team? Is TALK a tool which could enhance the way your team work together? When getting started and initial discussion should take place in order to identify and agree potential situations which will prompt its use, focusing on positive events as well as negative. Once established then TALK can easily be adapted to different situations so don't let this initial discussion limit you!
I attended a workshop in order to facilitate using the TALK debriefing tool. I personally think that this tool is useful and needs to become embedded in the culture as much as the 'ABCD' algorithm for assessing a patient. It is initially a bit clunky to use, because it is unfamiliar but once practiced would easily facilitate difficult discussions. It could be argued that we already debrief and therefore why do we need a tool?
There are several advantages which I can see:
For more information
Follow @TALKdebriefing on twitter for up to date news
Guest blog post by Dr Kimberley Hallam
I’m an ST2 in paediatrics and unfortunately did not have the chance to attend the RCPCH conference last year. So, this year I was very excited when I realised, not only would I be able to attend for all 3 days, but it was also in Glasgow…a city which I love and where my twin sister lives.
Getting up to Glasgow itself was challenging! I travelled up after work on the Wirral on Monday night. Soon after leaving, there was an announcement that there were trespassers on the line. Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t arrive at Glasgow Central Station until 00:45! Luckily, I was staying with my sister so didn’t have the hassle of a late night check in.
Day one of the conference was entitled the ‘Science and Research’ day. Because of my late arrival to Glasgow, I didn’t attend the 8am ‘Personal Practice Sessions’, but started at 9am with a welcome from the (now ex-) President of the RCPCH, Neena Modi. During the course of the conference, she relinquished her presidential title to Russell Viner. She gave an eloquent opening talk which was followed by a presentation by the RCPCH & Us Network. This is a group of young people who work with the RCPCH to ensure that young people’s views are listened to in all matters within the RCPCH organisation. They spoke incredibly well and are clearly a group of passionate, intelligent young people who are forward thinking, keen to bring about change and ensure their voices are heard.
Another highlight from the morning included a talk by Prof. David Archard regarding children and parental rights. He took examples from recent high profile cases and presented ethical considerations regarding parental rights. He focussed on a public slogan taken from the Charlie Gard Case: ‘My Child, My Choice.’ After a fascinating discussion, he concluded that ‘disagreements [between medical staff and parents] will continue and [will] probably proliferate. Parents’ feelings and views count but they are not decisive.’ He closed the session with the remark that ‘we live in a time of post-truth and populism.’
Next came an interesting presentation from Dr Cherry Alviani and was entitled ‘Sleep for your own health: A Pan-UK Survey on Paediatricians Experience of Sleep Around Shift Work.’ She talked about a survey she completed which showed a lot of trainees do not have training on how to manage sleep around night shifts and that many hospitals do not provide somewhere for trainees to sleep on night shift and/or do not support them doing so. Given lack of sleep affects judgement and clinical performance, these are important issues to address. As an aside, the BMJ have recently published a brilliant article which gives general advice on how to survive night shifts and which I have personally found quite useful:
After the plenary session, I attended a workshop entitled ‘Press, Politics and Paediatricians; Campaigning for Child Health Across the UK.’ This was an interactive workshop and even had some role play where members of the audience acted as news reporters and grilled (a pretend) Jeremy Corbyn and Jeremy Hunt. Suffice to say, this became a little heated! Overall, the session introduced the idea that it is our duty as paediatricians to be advocates for child health. This may include being politically active (e.g lobbying government) or may involve speaking out on behalf of paediatricians/children in the press. The RCPCH have opportunities for members to become involved in such work on their Press and Parliamentary Panels (they include free training).
I’ve put this link here so you can have a wee look if you’re interested: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/news/membership-benefit-month-media-and-parliamentary-training
The last session of the day I went to was run by the British Association of Paediatricians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and covered ‘Hot topics in paediatric subspecialties.’ They had a number of insightful and interesting talks including ‘When do you need a gut specialist?’, ‘Chronic cough: when is it a cause for concern?’ and ‘Changing landscapes in paediatric epilepsy.’ They also had talks from Neena Modi and Russell Viner (who got a bit of a kind-hearted grilling from the audience after his talk ‘Paediatric services: fit for the future’.
I chose not to go to the meal out on the first night. Instead, I went to a fabulous place in Glasgow called Stravaigin with my sister and a Mersey trainee. It comes highly recommended!
Day two of the conference was the ‘Global Child Health Day’ and, I have to admit, the day I was most looking forward to. It did not disappoint.
The day kicked off at 8am with a session on how to include global health in your career which was delivered by a diverse group of trainees who all had experiences of working in global health during their training years. They introduced the variety of ways a trainee can take part in global health work. These include clinical work, teaching, quality improvement projects, research and public health. The session covered considerations such as the stage of training you should aim to do such work, what support you might receive and where you can do the work. They also talked about the courses you can go on to help prepare. For example, ETAT, CHILS, GIC and the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. I left this session feeling very inspired and excited about my potential future opportunities.
Next up was the plenary with the first person to speak Prof Anthony Costello (Director of the Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, World Health Organisation). He gave a keynote speech on ‘Global governance for child health and sustainable development.’ As his title suggests, he came across as a very inspirational person. He questioned ‘is everything getting better?’ He stated that, globally, child mortality is improving rapidly and maternal mortality is improving but not to the same extent. As currently projected, low income countries will not catch up with higher income countries for a great number of years. Globally, we are still falling short in harder to reach areas and there are still basic health needs which are not being met. For example, lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
Five key problems which act as a barrier to improving child health are as follows:
1. Fragmentation of global child health strategies undermines programming and limits impact
2. Child health goals will not be met without adequate funding and delivery to marginalised populations
3. Evidence is not systematically generated and integrated into policy and programs
4. Strategies are insufficiently tailored to country context, and tools need improved end-user design
5. Lack of accountability, clear targets and strong monitoring
He then went on to describe five key areas for WHO and UNICEF to address.
The next talk was regarding child refugee health and is something I have been interested in for a long time and passionate about since attending the Royal Society of Medicine’s study day ‘Child Refugee Health: Everyone’s Responsibility.’ Dr Marylyn Emedo presented data on ‘Adverse experiences of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking children (UASC) and the impact on their emotional wellbeing and mental health needs.’ As a bit of background, there were 3290 unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the UK in 2016. Children from Afghanistan, Albania and Eritrea formed 48% of all UASC in 2016. Her study was a retrospective review of records of all UASC referred to a clinic run by a local authority in London between 1st January to 31st August, 2016. The study focussed on adverse experiences the children went through on their journey to the UK. It found that 51% of children experienced trauma on route to the UK including detention, beating, torture and sexual assault. All the children in the study were screened for mental health needs. Of these, 75% reported at least one symptom suggestive of PTSD, anxiety or depression and 43% accepted a referral to CAMHS. Her recommendations were for timely review in line with statutory guidelines and initiation of early support by mental health services.
Next, the workshop I chose to attend was ‘What should RCPCH’s global health priorities be?’ This started with a talk outlining some stark facts: 98 of every 100 children who die <5 years, die in developing countries, mainly from avoidable/treatable causes. There has also been a shift of mortality from communicable to non-communicable diseases. There followed a discussion surround how to address these issues as we work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDPs) set by the UN (http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/). There was participation from the audience and good engagement from the RCPCH. I was particularly happy to hear that the RCPCH are launching a global health professional development framework to run alongside paediatric training in order to engage trainees in global health work.
I continued the global health theme by attending the International Child Health Group’s afternoon session. This took part in the main Clyde auditorium and was mainly delivered by people who had conducted projects related to international health.
The first talk was delivered by Dr Jonson and was entitled ‘The validation of transcutaneous bilirubin as a method to monitor newborn jaundice in a low income country.’ She had recognised there were significant problems with babies developing kernicterus as a result of untreated jaundice in Haiti. Despite having a reasonably small data set, her study suggested that transcutaneous bilirubin monitoring was a safe way of measuring bilirubin in a low income country. The unit she was working on had a lower incidence of kernicterus following the trial. However, she suggested a larger data set would be required to fully validate her findings.
Amongst the remainder of the afternoon talks, the one which stood out for me was given by Dr Christopher Hands and entitled ‘Delivering nurse-led emergency paediatric care in Sierra Leonean Hospitals: The effect on quality of care and mortality.’ This nurse-led care involved the introduction of triage systems, stream-lining the patient journey at the point of care and training nurses in ETAT. These basic interventions had resulted in a very impressive reduction in mortality. Anecdotally, nurses now recognised they had the skills to save the lives of individuals presenting with symptoms they previously thought they could do nothing for. For example, hypoglycaemia and seizures.
Other talks included ‘Neonatal outcomes from FGM/cutting in the Gambia; results from a multicentre prospective study’, ‘The use of satellite clinics in W Uganda to remove barriers to seeking care’ and ‘Identification of the health burden for street children and service provision available in Kismu, Kenya, through Focus Group Discussions.’
At the end of the second day, I was exhausted. However, thanks to this day and the enthusiastic way in which the RCPCH approach global health, I now have a renewed determination to pursue a career in this area.
Day three was entitled the ‘Health Services for Children day.’ The plenary in the auditorium started with a keynote speech from Prof. Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director from Scottish Government. He was a very entertaining and enthusiastic speaker and it really was a pleasure to listen to him in his home city of Glasgow. He talked about the state of child health inequality in Scotland. He described how children living in Glasgow within a few miles of each other have a very different life expectancy (a phenomenon which is termed the ‘Glasgow Effect’). He then went on to talk about various local programmes which had been set up. For example, a programme in which fathers in prison are given intensive parenting classes and have their children visit the prison regularly. This even involved the inmates performing a play of the Gruffalo for the children and has the benefit of decreasing their chance of reoffending. There have also been programmes which involve intensive health visitor input. He ended with the following picture.
After the plenary and a short refreshment break, it was time for the final workshop session. As I seemed to be developing a political interest as the conference went on, I decided to attend the session ‘Child Health Policy Development: Why, What and How?’ This started with a presentation regarding the RCPCH health policy strategic direction for 2018. This states that the RCPCH wants to achieve the following:
1. To prioritise the health needs of infants, children and young people
2. To prevent ill health and promote health and wellbeing
3. To ensure continuous improvement in the quality of healthcare services
4. To reduce child health inequalities
They plan to achieve these aims in the following way:
1. Developing robust, evidence-based policy
2. Prioritisation and horizon scanning
3. Understanding the environment we work in
4. Influencing the right decision makers, at the right time
5. Having a tailored approach so the right messages reach decision makers across the UK
After the presentation, there was a discussion with audience participation and engagement from the new president. We discussed why and how the RCPCH develops policy, its impact and the role of paediatricians in influencing decision makers. We concluded that, as paediatricians, we have a duty to advocate on behalf of children and young people and part of that involves lobbying to push child health up the political agenda.
Following the workshop and lunch, I decided to start the first part of the afternoon with the ‘Children’s Ethics and Law Special Interest Group’ (CHELSIG). After an introduction to CHELSIG, there was a presentation ‘Children’s rights, UK healthcare and Brexit: Could things get worse for young people?’ This session discussed the UN rights of the child, including Article 16 (the views of the child), Article 24 (health and health services) and Article 16 (young people have the right to a private life). According to a study completed by the NIHR, 57% of children felt they were not involved or only involved a little in their care. This session encouraged paediatricians to involve children in decisions about their care and consider facilitating groups where children and young people can provide input into the running of paediatric services.
The next session was called ‘Moral distress, trauma and burnout in staff in relation to changes in PICU outcomes, challenging cases and media involvement in disagreements about end of life care.’ This session was led by Gillian Coleville who had studied the impact of the above in Great Ormond Street staff following the Charlie Gard case. The staff highlighted their main sources of distress are being accused of not caring, public condemnation without the right to reply, fears for their own safety, witnessing a child’s suffering, protracted legal proceedings, impact on other families and constant changes to care plan. 15% of staff had features of clinically significant post-traumatic stress syndrome. I was quite surprised at how high this was and also found it distressing to hear how the case had impacted upon their private lives.
The final session I went to on day 3 was one run by the Association of Paediatric Emergency Medicine. This was an afternoon focussing on the Manchester Arena bombing on 22nd May, 2017. We heard from Allan Courdwell, Head of Group Emergency Planning with the Northern Care Alliance who talked us through what happened on the day and how the trust managed the major incident. This was followed by an insightful talk by Fiona Murphy MBE, Associate Director of Nursing who covered the bereavement response after the bombing. She gave a moving description of how the bereavement officers supported those who suffered the death of a loved one. Her commitment to providing dignified support to the families was exceptional. She described various ways in which she co-ordinated and delivered the bereavement support. This included putting families up in a hotel together, having 24-hour access to a bereavement officer and finding out information regarding the victims so they could, for example, play their favourite music when families were viewing their bodies. She also arranged for the families to visit the arena (when safe to do so) where they had lit a candle where each of the victims was found so the families could further understand and come to terms with what had happened. This talk moved me and many others to tears and I was so overwhelmed by the dedication she and her team showed to support the families in the aftermath of the bombings.
So, that concluded my first attendance at an RCPCH conference and I really enjoyed the experience. It was great to see how proactive the college came across in providing advocacy for children and addressing global child health. It was also fabulous to catch up with old friends and be inspired by projects which other paediatric trainees are undertaking throughout the country. I’ll definitely aim to go again next year!
Care in the Community: Integrated Case Community Management of Childhood Illness in remote coastal Madagascar
Guest Post by Dr Emily Clark
The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, are ambitious.
"By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births”
This is a tough challenge we have set ourselves. Current global neonatal mortality (NMR) stands at 19/1000 live births, with under-5 mortality (U5M) at 41/1000 live births. In Madagascar, the NMR is 19/1000 live births, and the U5M 46/1000 live births (1). Note that these figures are all averages, which hides variation between regions, between rich and poor, between the educated and the illiterate (Hans Rosling has an excellent talk on this). I worked in a remote coastal region of southwest Madagascar, where there are no local data available for neonatal or child mortality as many births, and deaths, are not registered. I imagine that the statistics here would be worse than the average as communities are subject to the inverse care law: the paradox that those with the greatest need for health care have the least access.
However, in terms of mortality rates, we have come a long way already. At the start of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 1990, the global NMR was 37/1000 live births (40/1000 in Madagascar), and the U5M was 93/1000 live births (160/1000 in Madagascar) (1). The Millennium Development Goals report states:
“The dramatic decline in preventable child deaths over the past quarter of a century is one of the most significant achievements in human history”
So what works, and what do we need to do?
We know that most childhood illnesses are managed at home. This is memorably described in the case of malaria as the “ears of the hippo” – where only the minority of children are seen in a health facility.
‘‘The Ears of the Hippopotamus’’ where malaria patients are managed . . . and die. (2)
How do we get children from home to the hospital? And how do we do so within a timely manner? The three delays model was devised in 1994 by Thaddeus and Maine (3). It states that the delay in a sick person receiving appropriate medical care can be broken down as follows:
1. The delay in recognition that medical help is required
2. The delay in arriving at a location where appropriate medical help can be given
3. The delay in receiving appropriate help at this location
Rather than making the sick travel to the health centre, bringing health workers into the communities has demonstrated a reduction in childhood mortality. This initiative, known as Integrated Case Community Management (ICCM), targets the top causes of childhood deaths: diarrhoea, malaria, and pneumonia. If implemented globally, early treatment in the community of pneumonia in under-fives could reduce mortality by more than two-thirds. Similarly, community-based treatment of malaria could halve malaria-related mortality. Three-quarters of deaths from diarrhoea could be prevented by administration of oral rehydration solution (4). ICCM also promotes identification and treatment of malnutrition, which is observed in one-third to one-half of childhood deaths.
I volunteered with Blue Ventures, a marine conservation NGO, working in remote coastal southwest Madagascar. I worked with their community health team, Safidy, which means “choice” in Malagasy. Here, it is all too easy to understand how receiving timely and appropriate medical intervention was a challenge. Health literacy was poor, transport infrastructure was sparse (relying on zebu carts, fishing pirogues, and ad hoc cars and lorries). The roads were sandy tracks, and driving to the city takes 7 hours to cover the 200km on a good day – and that was in a 4x4. Sadly, this is unaffordable to most. Poverty underlies life here. There is no money available for medicines, transport; many can simply not afford not to work for a day.
As part of the Safidy programme, each village in the Blue Ventures service area has one agent communautaire (AC). These ACs, already respected women within their communities, were invited by the ICCM programme to an intensive eight-day residential training course. The training was centred around the use of a fiche, a paper-based form containing a series of questions which guide the ACs through key symptoms to aid diagnosis, and the “danger signs” of serious illness. These danger signs should prompt immediate treatment, as specified by the fiche, and referral to a health centre. The fiche guides ACs in providing safety net advice and follow up arrangements. The ACs also educate communities regarding public health measures, such as promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, and immunisations.
ACs are provided with key items of equipment, such as rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, a measuring strip for mid-upper arm circumference for assessment of malnutrition, and a one-minute timer for measuring respiratory rate. Essential medicines are also provided, including oral rehydration solution and zinc, antibiotics for pneumonia, and anti-malarials.
When a child falls ill, it is easy for the family to ask the AC within their own village for advice. The AC is able to assess and triage the child, and decide, using the fiche, what treatment is required. For example, a child presenting with a cough may well have pneumonia; the AC should then check for fever, and measure the respiratory rate. If the respiratory rate is raised, this should prompt antibiotic treatment and referral to a health centre. If there are no danger signs present, then the AC can provide a course of antibiotics and appropriate follow up advice.
All the ACs are literate, however, they have had very limited education at school. Yet, these women perform the same job that we do, as a multi-disciplinary team, in the Children’s Assessment Unit. They are simply phenomenal. It is a lot to learn, and so, together with a local ICCM trainer, the Safidy team arranged for two study days for the newly-trained ACs. The focus was on role play rather than theory. Many of the ACs had brought their children along to the training and so they made for excellent “patients”, and so we witnessed some Oscar-worthy performances! Each AC received feedback on their performance: what went well, what could be improved next time.
The ACs will now spend time working under direct supervision from nurses and midwives at local health facilities, before being approved to work independently within their communities. We hope that the success of ICCM in other countries can be replicated in this little corner of Madagascar.
One AC measures a young actor’s respiratory rate using a specially-designed timer
A trainer demonstrates assessment for pedal oedema; a danger sign that should prompt referral to a health centre
For more reading on the Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
The WHO have produced a report on the evidence for ICCM, available here: http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/iccm_service_access/en/
To see data being brought to life, I would advise watching Hans Rosling – starting here: https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen
ICCM complements the WHO programme Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) which aims to improve the quality of care available to patients at health facilities. A recent Multi-Country Evaluation has demonstrated that quality of care is improved, resulting in a reduced childhood mortality. It has demonstrated cost-effectiveness, as earlier and correct treatment saves money. http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/topics/child/imci/en/
For more information regarding Blue Ventures’ community health programme, Safidy: https://blueventures.org/conservation/community-health/
(1) All data from the World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/ Accessed 20.03.2018
(2) The Intolerable Burden of Malaria: A New Look at the Numbers: Supplement to Volume 64(1) of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Breman JG, Egan A, Keusch GT, editors. Northbrook (IL): American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; 2001 Jan.
(3) Thaddeus S, Maine D. Too far to walk: maternal mortality in context. Soc Sci Med. 1994 Apr;38(8):1091–110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(94)90226-7 pmid: 8042057
(4) WHO/UNICEF JOINT STATEMENT Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM). United Nations Children’s Fund. 2012
Guest blog by Dr Jemma Wright
I was delighted to attend the first day of the RCPCH annual conference this year and here is a brief summary of my day.
The day started early with a personal practice session about the new PROGRESS curriculum. Hopefully you are all aware of this new curriculum as it is going to be introduced this August. The session was an introduction to the new curriculum and it does seem like the college is trying to make it easier to engage with the new, much shorter curriculum. There is lots of information available on www.rcpch.ac.uk/progress including details of the mandatory 'key capabilities' we need to achieve and 'illustrations'/examples of how to evidence this on Kaizen. The main tip was to engage with this curriculum early as you can start producing evidence on your eportfolio now so it is already there to link to the new curriculum when it becomes live on 1st August 2018.
The overall theme of the conference was ‘Children First – Ethics, Morality and Advocacy in Childhood’ and the main plenary had a strong theme on ethics.
The first keynote speech was about “Putting the Child First” and was an extremely topical philosophical exploration of the interaction between best interests and parental rights. There has been some significant media attention in the last year on multiple cases of disagreement between the medical teams and the parents. He alluded to these cases including the common protest of ‘my child, my choice’, and put a spin on this statement by highlighting that a parent does not necessary have the right to choose anything for their child – his example being that parents have the right to choose what to feed their child but they cannot choose to feed them poison. Overall it was an interesting discussion concluding that the child must always come first.
This was followed by three project presentations:
The first was on the impact of austerity on families with disabled children across Europe. The conclusion of the project survey was that cuts since 2008 have resulted in worsening quality and access of services to disabled children with a significant negative impact on families in the UK, especially those in severe poverty.
The second was about delays in seeking legal judgements in cases of withdrawal of care, collecting data of 15 cases across the England over the last 5 years. They recommended considering alternative methods to avoid these delays such as mediation/dispute resolution, which have high success rates in avoiding litigation, and tend to have higher satisfaction rates.
The last project was about a UK survey on paediatricians experience of sleep education. It was found that around 75% of paediatric trainees have not received any teaching on sleep during their training. Interestingly they recommended that we should all be taking a 15 min nap during our night shifts to reduce fatigue and that this should be supported by our workplaces. For more information, they have recently published articles in ADC and BMJ to promote more awareness about how to approach sleep during shift work.
The plenary concluded with Professor Neena Modi talking about “Children in the 21st century’ focussing on the historical progression of a child’s role in society from possession, to protection, to partnership. She also talked about the increasing importance of non-communicable diseases in children especially childhood obesity and the interaction between child health and adult health. There is a whole section about these issues in the State of Child Health section on the RCPCH website.
Next up, I chose to go to a workshop about navigating academic training pathways. As a non-academic trainee, it was interesting to hear that the college is keen to support paediatricians interested in developing an academic element to their job. I found out about a research funding opportunities database on the RCPCH website (https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/research_funding_opportunities) and the new academic toolkit (http://apatoolkit.eastface.co.uk).
After lunch, I headed to the BPAIIG speciality group session.
We had a presentation from an epidemiologist at PHE taking about paediatric antimicrobial resistance followed by a talk by a paediatric ID consultant about balancing antimicrobial stewardship since the new NICE sepsis guidelines. The key learning point when prescribing antibiotics was to be mindful of antibiotic resistance and always ‘Start Smart then Focus‘.
There was a good representation from Wales in this session. I was asked to present my project about the epidemiology/microbiology of candidaemia over the last 15 years at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital followed by an excellent presentation by a Cardiff medical student looking at the risk of laceration when using an adrenaline auto-injector. There were also two further presentations about the impact of PCV on pneumococcal meningitis rates and two cases of INF a/b receptor 2 deficiency associated with immunodeficiency.
Finally there were two further talks by paediatric ID consultants about the use of biomarkers to guide length of antibiotic course and the novel use of old antibiotics or new antibiotic combinations to treat multi-resistant bacteria. Excitingly there is a new national trial entitled BATCH (biomarker guided duration of antibiotic treatment in children hospitalised with confirmed or suspected bacterial infection), which is being coordinated by the Centre for Trials Research in Cardiff and may guide further developments in this area.
Overall I had an excellent thought provoking day and enjoyed the excuse to visit Glasgow, my old FY2 home.
The regular visitors to the site will have noticed an extra tab at the top of the page.
The Welsh Paediatric Simulation Group (WPSG) provides paediatric simulation training throughout Wales covering a wide range of topics. Because WREN is linked to WPSG through education provision we thought it would be beneficial to have a one stop shop for access to educational opportunities so nobody misses out. The aim is that we will publish the dates of courses and contact details to book them on the WREN website as well as providing access to all the precourse reading materials.
It’s a work in progress so please bear with us while we update this over the coming months.
Also let us know what would be most useful to see on these pages and we can edit them to make they are adding value and making things a little bit easier.
Welcome to the WREN pages WPSG
Course PRUDIC Study Day
Date 2nd March 2018
Princess of Wales Hospital (Paediatrics)
Dr Dana Beasley
Course Paediatric Trauma Course
Date 18th May 2018
University Hospital of Wales
Dr Hannah Murch via Liz Williams
Course Step up to Registrar/Shift Leader
Date 21st May 2018
University Hospital of Wales
Dr Sally Richards
Date June 2018
Princess of Wales Hospital (Paediatrics)
Dr. Emily Payne
Community GRID trainee
Course Paediatrics 2
Date 2nd July 2018
University Hospital of Wales
Dr Sally Richards
Course Step up to Registrar/Shift Leader
Date 10th September 2018
University Hospital of Wales
Dr Sally Richards
Course Paediatrics 1
Date 31st October 2018
Venue Merthyr Tydfil
Prince Charles Hospital
Dr David Deekollu
As more course dates become available we will update the WPSG page of the WREN website
‘Eculizumab in Shiga-Toxin producing E. Coli Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial’
This is a trial currently recruiting on the Paediatric Nephrology Unit at UHW
Aim of trial:
To assess whether Eculizumab reduces the severity of Shiga-toxin producing Ecoli Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (STEC HUS) in children and young people
What is Eculizumab?
Primary Research Objective:
To determine whether the severity of STEC HUS is less in those given Ecu compared with those given placebo, in children aged 6m-18 years
-Clinical Severity Score assigned at day 60
i)To assess the safety of Ecu in STEC HUS
ii)To determine whether the incidence of CKD following STEC HUS is less in those receiving Ecu compared with those receiving placebo
iii)To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of administration of Ecu in STEC HUS from the perspective of the NHS
Active arm: Standard therapy + 1st dose Ecu Day 1, & 2nd dose Ecu Day 8
Control arm: Standard therapy + 1st dose placebo Day 1, & 2nd dose placebo Day 8
NB: The trial contains an internal pilot phase of 18m (12m recruitment, 6m follow-up), the purpose of which is to determine whether the substantive trial will continue.
For further information please contact:
Jennifer Muller, Paediatric Research Specialist Nurse (CYARU)
Wellbeing and Resilience
In the Wales Deanery Paediatric trainees change rotation in September and March so this seemed a good opportunity to have an article about a current hot topic within medicine, wellbeing.
The GMC have noted a rise in foundation doctors citing burnout as their reason for taking an F3 year or time out before applying to specialty training, what can we do about this as a profession? . We deal with life and death situations, we lack sleep through shift work, make large volumes of decisions and balance work life with time away from our families. All of these conditions can lead to increased levels of stress, depression and anxiety. With winter pressures and the ever growing demands on juniors combined with the widely discussed Dr Bawa-Garba case, we need to find ways protect our own mental health and our colleagues, supporting ourselves to manage our work-life balance.
What can we focus on?
No article on wellbeing should neglect the important role of sleep to maintaining a positive status quo. And no mention of sleep would be complete without mentioning the work being done by Dr Michael Farquhar.
I was planning on providing a summary of his advice in this blog post however I feel the whole article published in Archives is valuable, really easy to read and very short. So rather than provide a truncated summary I direct you to the reference below and encourage you to take a few minutes to read this.
Sleep matters, and we are only just scratching the surface of this topic.
Farquhar M Fifteen-minute consultation: problems in the healthy paediatrician—managing the effects of shift work on your health Archives of Disease in Childhood - Education and Practice 2017;102:127-132.
Personally this is my main go to wellbeing option. I run. It's not fast, I don't do it to come first, and I don't look pretty doing it, but running 3 times a week enables me to keep on top of everything. Now I accept running is not for everybody, although I would encourage anybody to try it and there are plenty of coach to 5km programs that are freely available to download, exercise is achievable.
Pick an exercise which is sustainable and you enjoy. Fit it into your routine and prioritise it. You don't need to run marathons but get your body moving or make it a social event. Meet up with friends, or making new ones.
What is mindfulness?
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
I personally use the Headspace App (@Headspace) to practice mindfulness but there are plenty of other options available. There are plenty of free blog posts on mindfulness on the Headspace website that cover a wide variety of topics. They also have links to published journal articles on the benefits of mindful practice.
Action for happiness is a good twitter feed to follow if you are interested. @actionhappiness They have been producing a calendar for each month with daily ideas to improve wellbeing and their focus for March is Mindfulness.
Mindfulness doesn't have to be meditation however, it can simply be taking the time to give yourself some space, take notice of your surroundings and stop being so busy. It can mean going to a certain place, taking time to listen to your favorite music or read a book. As with all these suggestions - make them work for you.
Remember you are not alone.
Ask for help.
This seems like a simple statement of fact but sometimes it can be hard to remember that you are not a silo. We work in teams, especially in Paediatrics. There will always be somebody around to talk to, to give you support and to bounce ideas off of. If you don't know who these people are for you then go and find them! I have needed to call on my support network recently and without fail they stepped up to the plate. During this time, I also called on my friends outside of medicine. Find your network, what makes you able to bounce back from set backs and be the best you can.
Places to look
You Got This is the UK's first programme designed to promote Wellness and support the wellbeing of staff working in emergency medicine. However, don't feel that you have to be an emergency medical trainee in order to access this. It is a fantastic resource and worth checking in with.
See them on Twitter as well @yougotthiswell
Locally in Cardiff and Vale The Child Health Psychology team run drop in Mindfulness sessions for staff on alternate Tuesdays 13:00-13:30 in Seminar room B, Noah's Ark Hospital. The March sessions are on 6th March and 20th March.
Any other good resources which you think would benefit other readers of this post, feel free to comment below.
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
After the huge success of last year’s St David’s Day Conference, I was very much looking forward to this year’s event, and Abby Parish and her team once again certainly did not disappoint!
Nestled in the heart of Wales’ vibrant capital city, a stone’s throw away from the iconic sites of Cardiff Castle and the Millenium Stadium, Park Inn provided a classy, yet relaxed setting for an exciting day of learning ahead. Greeted with a lovely warm beverage and a selection of delicious pastries on arrival, there followed an opportunity to catch-up with paediatric colleagues both old and new before the opening lecture of the day.
The programme itself was particularly attractive this year, focusing on Ethics as the principal theme. On a personal note, I felt my knowledge of Ethics in Paediatrics was somewhat lacking, with minimal educational opportunities available previously to explore this complex but fascinating topic. I therefore jumped at the opportunity to attend this year’s St David’s Day Conference to broaden my knowledge and experiences.
The introductory lecture was provided by the President of the RCPCH, Professor Neena Modi. This fascinating lecture on the ethical issues in neonatal research emphasised the importance of the positive relationship between parents/patients and the medical profession, to enhance understanding about science and research methodology, whilst simultaneously strengthening trust between both parties. Professor Modi also discussed the concepts of ‘opt-out’ consent and mention of a possible ‘inclusion benefit’ in order to improve recruitment and efficiency of Randomised Controlled Trials.
The next lecture was one of three of the day by Dr Richard Hain, Consultant and all-Wales Clinical Lead in Paediatric Palliative Medicine. His ‘Introduction to Parental Authority’ talk gave an excellent insight into the difficulties often faced concerning parents’ influence on treatment and care decisions. He talked about the concept of “best interest,” discussing the differences between objective and subjective interests, and their importance in helping parents choose ‘the path of least regret’ with regards to treatment decisions.
Before morning coffee there was a case presentation session led by Wales Neonatal GRID Trainees Kate Burke and Zoe Howard. Their experiences of the management of three different babies born with Trisomy 18 highlighted the variability of genetic diagnoses, the postnatal role of perinatal palliative care, and the central role of the parents.
The final session of the morning featured a lecture on prenatal screening and the associated ethical dilemmas, by Professor Angus Clarke, Clinical Geneticist in Wales. He discussed the goals of antenatal screening programmes, particularly focusing on the permission of informed reproductive decisions, conveying ‘reproductive autonomy,’ whilst considering the balance of health economic assessments.
Dr Hain brought the morning session to a close with his lecture on ‘the value of a short life, who decides?’ This was an extremely thought-provoking session discussing the rights of the fetus, and the value of a child, particularly focusing on the views of the parents and that of the law.
The afternoon session, entitled ‘Costly care – because you’re worth it,’ focussed on the legal aspects of a number of ethical dilemmas, including reference to the relevant articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. The legal concepts were presented by Dr Rim Al-Samsam, Consultant in Paediatric Critical Care Medicine, who has a special interest in law in the context of healthcare. Dr Richard Hain then chaired an open session alongside Dr Al-Samsam, encouraging audience participation to discuss potential treatment dilemmas faced in a hypothetical case.
Following an incredibly profound and inspiring day, the CEO of the RCPCH hosted an interactive ‘road-show’ to discuss some of the topical issues faced by the RCPCH and their potential plans to improve them. Also discussed was the exciting new RCPCH curriculum, due to be launched over the coming weeks.
If you are yet to attend a St David’s Day Conference I could not recommend it more. I very much look forward to next year’s instalment already!
3rd-5th January 2018,
I had the pleasure of being able to attend the British Paediatric Neurology Association Annual Conference this year held at King’s College London. Despite a horrendous viral illness over the festive season which left me with significant post-viral fatigue, I managed to catch my early train to London on the 3rd of January (and had the pleasure of travelling first class in view of my tardiness in buying the ticket resulting in the first class ticket being cheaper!). Loaded up with free coffee and biscuits from the first class carriage, I arrived in London just in time for the first session. The venue was great, close to Waterloo Bridge, and there were beautiful views of the city to be seen in the evenings when crossing the bridge to attend the social events.
The conference had a packed programme full of interesting talks, clinical practice sessions, e-posters and symposia. One of the highlights included the opening talk by Dr. Charlie Fairhurst who discussed the creation of the NICE guideline for Cerebral Palsy in under 25’s in which he emphasised the importance of treating pain first and foremost because if a child is in pain, there is no point in complex interventions to improve their mobility/social interaction because the pain will hinder the child’s participation. Patients with Cerebral Palsy are particularly at risk of pain from numerous sources (e.g. orthopaedic/muscular problems, GI dysmotility, pressure sores, dystonia etc. in addition to the usual causes of pain that anybody can experience). I felt that the talk also provided a very important reminder of the need for holistic and multi-disciplinary care.
There were multiple presentations throughout the conference on current research ongoing in neurological disorders (including neuro-inflammation in psychiatric disorders, antibodies in neuro-inflammatory and demyelinating disorders, neurogenetics etc.) which really made me appreciate the rate at which our understanding of neurological disorders is advancing. There were also sessions on Neuroimaging including advances in fetal neuro-imaging (talk given by Prof. Mary Rutherford) and advances in PET scanning particularly in guiding epilepsy surgery.
On the first day, I attended a workshop on Childhood Sleep Disorders run by the tertiary sleep service at Evelina Children’s Hospital, which involved learning about methods of sleep assessment (including polysomnography, actigraphy and sleep diaries). Pharmacological therapy including melatonin and clonidine (for fragmented sleep) were discussed. We also discussed potential contributors to sleep fragmentation (e.g. pain, seizures, obstructive sleep apnoea) and also discussed basic sleep hygiene advice and psychological interventions to help with behavioural insomnia.
On day 2, I attended a workshop session on early epileptic encephalopathies and the emergence of underlying diagnoses related to epilepsy gene panels where the indications for genetic testing were discussed. We also discussed when a referral to a clinical genetics service is indicated and the common genetic mutations now being identified on epilepsy panels (SCN1a, SCN8a, SCN2a, KCNQ2, PRRT2 etc).
On the third day, I attended a workshop on movement disorder emergencies including how to manage status dystonicus. This was something I had never come across in clinical practice and therefore was a very useful session highlighting the management including pain relief, dystonia medications, checking CK, strict fluid management. The session also discussed common mutations causing dystonia (including DYT 1, PANK2, RRT1, TOR1A) and also discussed surgical management options including deep brain stimulation and pallidectomy.
This year’s conference used an app instead of the usual printed programme. The app allowed you to formulate your own personal programme and came with alerts to indicate which talks were about to start. During talks, you could also write notes on the app which were then linked to the talk. At the end of the conference you could then download all of your notes. There was also an option to ‘chat’ with other attendees during the talks (though I didn’t use this feature as I felt I didn’t have anything very intelligent to say as many of the topics were completely new to me!).
During the conference, I presented my poster on head injuries sustained following infant falls on the postnatal ward. The poster outlined the findings of a case series of infant falls in UHW between January 2015-September 2017. We found a high incidence of injury on CT imaging in these infants and therefore we propose a lower threshold for CT imaging in this group. We also found significant variation in monitoring, investigation and follow-up of these patients highlights a need for guideline development in this area. I am now planning to expand this project to a multi-centre WREN project collecting data from other units across Wales to gain more insight in to the scale of this problem and how cases are managed elsewhere across Wales.
I was very pleased to see that two other Wales Deanery Trainees also had posters to display at the conference. Anne-Marie Proctor with her poster on Improving EEG investigations: Child’s Play? This poster presented how extension of a child-centred approach to EEG (including play therapy and flexibly timed investigations) to a second site in ABMU improved EEG success rates. Qumrun Nahar also presented her poster on the delivery of Botulinum Toxin Injection for Children with Spasticity: a Service Evaluation Project in Pembrokeshire, West Wales which showcased the service model of Botulinum Injections delivered in a rural DGH.
This year’s conference displayed all of the posters as e-posters which meant that poster presenters were given a 3 minute slot to present their poster as part of a powerpoint presentation in a designated room. All presenters had 2 minutes to present and 1 minute for questions. Numerous poster presentations were running in parallel. The positive side of this was having an allocated time session to present your poster, and then you were free to listen to the other posters being presented with no obligation to stay standing next to your poster. The down-side was that because of the parallel sessions it was easy to miss out on seeing another poster that took your interest. For example, unfortunately I couldn’t attend both Anne-Marie and Qumrun’s poster presentations and was very sad to have to miss out on seeing one completely. There were also some posters which I felt could have generated much more than three minutes’ discussion and it was a shame to be limited to that timescale (some of the presenters struggled to describe their poster in any sort of detail in only 2 minutes!). It was an interesting and innovative way to display posters and it will be interesting to see if the idea is taken up at other conferences.
I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the three days, but know that I have learnt a great deal that will improve my interaction with children with neurological disorders, their families and the wider MDT.
You can download the BPNA app which has further information on upcoming BPNA courses and events. And if you have an interest in Paediatric Neurology I would thoroughly recommend attending the BPNA conference next year.
And if anybody is interested in getting involved in the upcoming WREN project looking at Head Injuries in Neonates on the Postnatal Ward please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
With a busy family and work life my pile of “must read” journal articles grows larger and larger month by month. However, when the article below popped up on my twitter feed during January it was so relevant to what I do currently every shift and there are a significant number of differing views and options it immediately jumped to the top of the list! (And I actually read it!) The topic of whether to give steroids or not to give steroid when a preschool child presents with wheeze is one which causes huge debate and which I frequently question my own management on. A previous paper published by Panickar et al in 2009 changed our practise and guidelines, despite having questions about the applicability of the study. However, the paper outlined below suggests that we still have more to think about.
Oral Prednisolone in preschool children with virus-associated wheeze: a prospective, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
S.J. Foster, M N Cooper, S Oosterhof, M L Borland
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2018 January 17
To assess the efficacy of oral prednisolone in children presenting to a paediatric emergency department with suspected viral wheeze.
The study was originally a non-inferiority trial designed to test the hypothesis that a placebo is non-inferior to prednisolone, the authors added in a superiority analysis, testing the hypothesis that prednisolone was superior to placebo. The secondary hypothesis was added after the data had been collected but prior to data analysis.
Eligible patients were between 2- 6 years of age who presented to the paediatric emergency department in Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth, Australia and had a clinical diagnosis of wheeze combined with symptoms of a viral upper respiratory tract infection.
Patients were excluded with: Oxygen saturations <92% in air, a silent chest, shock or sepsis, previous PICU admission with wheeze, prematurity, other cardio-respiratory disease, likely alternative diagnosis for wheeze, steroid treatment within the preceding 14 days, allergy to prednisolone or previous study recruitment.
The eligibility criteria were suitable for the objective and looked at a population of children who regularly present with viral wheeze. The authors have excluded the bronchiolitis age group of children by excluding children under 2. This is important because they respond to different management.
There were 3727 patients assessed for eligibility. After exclusions 312 were put into the placebo arm and 312 into the prednisolone arm. Following withdrawals 300 were included for analysis in the placebo group and 305 for the prednisolone group.
Prior to data collection the authors calculated a sample size in order to ensure significant results. This was calculated on the original aim of non-inferiority.
The study was a randomised double blind trial. Once eligible the participants were randomly assigned on a 1:1 basis to receive either 1mg/kg once daily of prednisolone or placebo. The placebo was formulated by the hospital and matched the prednisolone for volume, concentration, colour, smell and taste. The drugs were in matching bottles and randomisation was appropriate. The blinding for parents, patients, doctors, the research team and biostatician was kept until the statistical analysis was completed.
The initial drug dose was administered by a nurse but for the following 2 days were given by the parents at home. The severity of the wheeze was assessed prior to treatment using a calculated pulmonary score. The family completed a questionnaire about home management and previous symptoms and a viral swab was taken from each participant. Each patient was managed with bronchodilators in line with the hospital policy.
If the patient who was included in the study was admitted to the ward, and the admitting doctor felt that the patient should receive steroids, then these were given. 23 patients in the placebo group were given steroids in these circumstances. These patients were included in the intention to treat arm and the continuation of the study drug, alongside the prescribed prednisolone was at the discretion of the patient and their parents. They were included in the analysis and if anything would have made it more difficult to demonstrate a statistical significance between the groups.
A pulmonary symptom scoring system was used for each patient to group wheeze severities together for analysis which enabled comparisons between groups, and to assess whether initial symptom severity was responsible for patient outcomes. All staff were competent in its use, however, this has score not been validated in children less than 5 years old.
This paper only comments on some of the data collected during the trial, the remaining data on long term outcomes will be presented in further manuscripts. The initial dual primary outcomes were length of stay in the emergency department and the total length of stay within the hospital. Secondary outcomes (within the first 7 days after hospital discharge) included: reattendance, readmission, salbutamol usage and residual symptoms after discharge.
During the data collection it was felt the initial primary outcome; length of stay within the emergency department, was not reflective of the clinical condition as it was dependent on many non clinical factors. The study therefore only looked at an outcome of total length of stay in hospital until the participant was fit for discharge. This change was clearly outlined by the authors and appropriate for the aim of the study.
The study groups were well balanced and the authors found no significant differences between groups in: baseline demographics; pulmonary score at presentation; personal or family history of atopy; use of salbutamol before attendance to the department. Categorical variables were analysed using a χ2 test or fishers exact test and continuous variables were compared using Students t test. Therefore a previously identified risk factor of personal or family history of atopy did not affect the outcomes in this study.
Linear regression is the main analysis used to see if outcomes differ for the 2 groups. The authors conclude:
Secondary outcomes assessed were around representation post discharge. 26 patients re-attended (15 from prednisolone arm and 13 from the placebo arm). 3 patients from the prednisolone group and 2 patients from the placebo group were then prescribed steroids. One patient, from the prednisolone group needed admission to PICU. The statistical analysis of the reattenders (secondary outcomes) was not made clear within the article.
The authors discuss their results in regards to the Panickar 2009 paper; they postulate that the study design could go some way to explaining the different outcome. The authors outline that they have tried to address some of the identified limitations found in the 2009 paper. These include the exclusion of children under 2 years old, thus reducing the likelihood for inclusion of patients with bronchiolitis.
They urge some caution within their subgroup analysis conclusions as the sample size was smaller than the sample size used for calculating the general conclusion, also the patients were not randomly allocated to the arms based on the severity of symptoms or the use of salbutamol prior to attendance.
This presentation is something we see daily in the emergency department and children’s assessment unit. It is an area for which I don’t feel that we have fully understood all the physiology behind the presentations. There are most likely many phenotypes of childhood wheeze. More research is definitely needed in order to assess the need for steroids and how to select the patients who would benefit from them. I look forward to reading further papers on the more long term conclusions of this trial. I think that I will still continue to judge the need for steroids on a patient by patient basis. Questioning with each patient whether they should or should not receive steroids. (And we’ve not even touched on Dexamethasone vs. Prednisolone!)
It would be great to hear your views on this topic, I encourage you to comment on the blog or tweet me. (@RCBroomfield)
Have a lovely February
The previous paper referenced can be found at:
Panickar J, Lakhanpaul M, Lambert PC, Kenia P, Stephenson T, Smyth A, Grigg J. Oral Prednisolone for preschool children with acute virus induced wheezing, New England Journal of Medicine. 2009 Jan 22;360(4);329-38
By Katherine Burke (Neonatal GRID Trainee, Wales Deanery; Welsh Clinical Academic Trainee)
Following on from the presentation at the WREN Autumn Study Day 2017, here's the 30-second guide to the best resources to use to get involved in research and get funding!
Being ‘Involved’ in Research:
Lists projects which are ongoing.
Fantastic opportunity to design and carry out a project in partnership with the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit.
Potential Sources of Funding for PhD
For projects which are already ’set up’ i.e. designed and funded, see www.findaphd.com
The RCPCH curate a list of funding opportunities – you need to be logged in with your college account but it is really comprehensive, and great for ‘specifics’ i.e. funding streams and opportunities related to particular conditions.
Wellcome provide grants for people undertaking particular projects. If you have an idea and a supervisor in mind, there are multiple streams under which you can apply i.e. Biomedical Sciences, Medical Humanities (for society/ethics projects) or International Development.
Similar to Wellcome.
Dedicated to funding Paediatric Research. Again, need a project idea and a sponsor and supervisor in place.
Disease specific opportunities….. (NOT comprehensive, just some examples!)
Writing a ‘Research Proposal’
When developing a project idea, a good place to start is by carrying out a ‘literature review’ outlining the current status of knowledge for a particular area or field. If you contact the library at UHW, there is regular training available on ‘how to do….’ literature searches, among other useful things.
Dr Rebecca Broomfield