Currently within Paediatric training you have to opportunity after your core training to apply for sub speciality training within Paediatrics.
Info on the GRID process can be found here:
The list of sub-specialities available and information about them can be found here:
Having applied and been successful this year I thought it might be useful to have a blog post covering the best tips which I received along the way.
Dr Rebecca Broomfield
Before you start?
Firstly you need to decide if you even want to apply for a sub-speciality, and if you do then which one! I cannot start this blog by saying that I had always dreamed of being an Emergency Paediatrician - I had not. If I am completely honest for the first two years of my Paediatric training I mainly wanted to pass my exams. However, I was asked an important question the day after finding out that I had passed my clinical exam. (Literally the day after, thanks Dr Ian Morris!) He asked me what I wanted to be. My reply was a rather surprised, hopefully its clear I want to be a paediatrician, but it was the next question that really started me thinking - What do you want to do within that? It made me stop and made me question exactly what type of paediatrician I wanted to be. Now, I don't think he was necessarily asking what GRID I was going to apply for or meaning that I should sub-specialise but I started asking what I loved about my job, what I didn't enjoy and this made me realise that I needed a slightly more focused career aim than gaining my clinical exams and bobbing along through the rest of my training.
So, if you are at the start of your career, or even near the end - I ask you "What do you want to do within that?" Is a sub-speciality for you? Do you have an interest in medical education? Have you got a passion for clinical leadership? Have you always fancied a PhD? You might already know the answer. Or you might, like me, have not thought about it until somebody asked.
If you have decided on a sub-speciality then you need to start looking at your CV and tailoring it towards that focus. Personally I asked for a rotation in PEM. I attended PEM relevant conferences and took part in PEM research. The QI projects I undertook became more emergency focused and I attempted to gain insight into whether this was the place where I wanted to base my career by talking to the people already doing it.
The best tip I had here was to look at the marking scheme when you are writing your answers. You can have a fairly good idea of what you are going to score if you at least look at the criteria you are being judged against.
I started by brainstorming everything which I had been involved in. I didn't think I had much to go on to be completely honest when I started, but you'd be amazed how much you have actually achieved when you write it all down in one place! Once you have drafted answers and put words together on a page then ask people to read them! Ask as many people as you can from within your sub-speciality choice but also from outside it. Ask people who you consider to be friends but also people who you don't. Put yourself out there, brush away any imposter syndromes and get feedback on what you have actually written. Accept that they will all have different opinions with what you need to include to get top marks and realise that you will not be able to include it all. But the more people you ask to read it the better your answers will be.
Importantly don't be to modest - this application my be the only chance to sell yourself to the speciality which you want to be part of. The best feedback I got told me bluntly to sell myself more. It feels uncomfortable to most but it is necessary, nobody else is going to sell you. If you have done something amazing then shout about it!
This was possibly the most stressful experience of my career thus far. It is extremely uncomfortable for the majority of people to sit in front of a group of highly qualified experts in the field which you want to join and talk about yourself and how great you are for 20 minutes. If this doesn't come naturally to you then the only thing to do it to practise! Do mock interviews, record your answers to standard questions and play them back to yourself, talk to the mirror whatever you need to do to get comfortable doing it. My first mock interview was a disaster and the second one was even worse but I had a team around me who were willing to help me get better. I read a helpful consultant interview book, had thought of examples for key areas which could be adapted to answer a question, had structures for questions to avoid rambling and, most importantly, borrowed a friends lucky jacket (Thanks Kate!) While nothing can prepare you for the questions which they will ask, and there is always a question you would never have thought of, I felt as prepared as I could be when I hopped onto the long train from Cardiff to London on the day of my interview.
Practise and preparation are the key. (Plus a quick toilet based power pose in the RCPCH basement - Thanks Amy Cuddy)
Think about what happens if you get an offer
I did not do this.
Prior to submitting the application you have to rank the jobs which you would be willing to accept. I did this and truly believed that I had thought through all the pros and cons of each place - the 24 hours or so (ok, probably more like 72) of sobbing after my job offer came through suggests that the reality of the situation was slightly different to the expectation that I had had before. So I encourage you to think through the reality of what would happen if you were offered that job and what you would be willing to accept prior to clicking the submit button.
On that note, this is my last blog post as an editor for the WREN blog. Thank you for reading and taking this project from strength to strength.
I have been successful in my GRID application I will be starting my Paediatric Emergency training in September, however this will no longer be based in Wales. We felt it was important for the editors of the WREN blog to be based within the Wales Deanery. Annabel will be continuing and I am being replaced by Dr Tom Cromathy who has previously written guest blogs for us. I look forward to continuing to contribute and am sure the blog will be in safe hands!
Dr Rebecca Broomfield