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Junior doctors

Ahmed Rashid: Should junior doctors accept pharma support for clinical research training?

27 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

ahmed_rashidJunior clinical researchers know that there’s really only one way for them to comprehensively get on the academic ladder and prove their credibility. Those three letters that contain years of effort and soul searching that make all the difference. The essential and the impossible. The mountain. The PhD.

But, of course, once you’ve made the brave decision to take on this beast, you must then find the support to do so. And the particular support needed to tackle this beast is money. Unless you’re able to support yourself by other means, and dramatically reduce your income by enrolling as an independent postgraduate student, a clinical research fellowship may be the only option. more…

Sanna W Khawaja: At a crossroads in medical training

17 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

sanna_khawajaI am in the recruitment stage between interviews and offers. At this moment in time, when I look to August I can see myself as both in training and not in training. I can see myself as employed and as unemployed. Perhaps it is the task of ranking potential future jobs, or the desire to avoid this task, that has me thinking very seriously about my future as a doctor in the NHS.

When I took a year out after foundation training, it had been for a number of reasons. Yes, part of it was the desire to gain more experience, to travel, to work abroad, and to finally pick a specialty to commit to. But perhaps, more importantly, it was a chance to step off of the conveyor belt of medical training and re-examine my choices so far. more…

Rebecca Stout: To apply or not to apply? Why some junior doctors are taking years out instead of going straight into training

28 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

rebecca_stoutA recent news article in The BMJ told us that the figures from the UK Foundation Programme Office show that the number of foundation year 2 (FY2) doctors applying straight into a training post has fallen again: “in August 2014 (it) was 59%—down from 64% in 2013, 67% in 2012, and 71% in 2011.” As a foundation year 2 doctor who decided this year not to apply for training I am going examine why I think this is becoming an ever more popular choice. more…

Sanna W Khawaja: An NHS full of secret agents

2 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

sanna_khawajaWhile I enjoy the occasional spy movie, I always find myself irritated at the protagonist, who very often spends the film focused on a mission with little or no knowledge of the “bigger picture.” Quite often he or she knows little about the organisation they work for, and, at times, they even accidentally end up in a gun fight with their own colleagues.

I was mid-rant about these “secret agents” when it recently dawned on me that I too have been trained like a secret agent (albeit without the martial arts). more…

Will Stevens: Parachuting doctor—life as a UK Army Reserve

26 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

unnamedIn my day job I work as a foundation year 2 junior doctor in Oxfordshire, but for the past seven years, I have also been a serving Army Reservist. Last weekend saw my unit, 144 Parachute Medical Squadron, deploy to Longmoor Training Area in Hampshire on a training exercise called Ex Green Serpent.

The weekend was packed with patrolling, care of casualties while under fire, radio use and signalling, mine awareness, and countering improvised explosive devices—with exercises practised during the day, as well as at night in complete darkness, reflecting the harsh realities of conflict. more…

Sanna W Khawaja: What can we learn from the locum?

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

sanna_khawajaWhen recounting the tale of my first ever shift as a bona fide doctor, the line “I was on call with a locum SHO and a locum Reg” tends to get the perfect reaction: sympathy and kudos. I follow “The Locum Doctor” on Facebook and have made many a witty (some would disagree) joke with a “locum” punchline. The newspapers also love a bit of locum bashing. Yet here I am, taking a gap year for a number of reasons and I am “the emergency department (ED) locum.” more…

Martin Kaminski: How not to be a junior doctor

1 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

martin_KaminskiTo all the newly qualified doctors about to inaugurate their careers in junior house officer posts across the UK next week, I bestow upon you the secrets to a happy and fulfilling start as a junior doctor. Namely, do not do some of the things that my colleagues and I did (which is a way of hiding the fact that it was mostly me), and you will likely not only survive, but also avoid a few blunders along the way. Of course, this is contingent on having also memorised the entire Oxford Textbook of Medicine front to back. No pressure. more…

Kiran Varadharajan: A junior surgical trainee’s perspective on surgical simulation

13 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

kiran_varadharajanThe European Working Time Directive (EWTD) has reduced the number of hours that trainee doctors have to hone their skills. As a junior surgical trainee, I find that time in theatre is of the essence when it comes to improving my operative skills. “The Time for Training Report” highlighted these challenges with suggestions on how trainees can overcome the training barriers produced by EWTD. One of the key developments is simulation training. Simulation training forms an excellent way of developing skills in a controlled environment without causing potential harm to patients. These skills can then be transferred into real life operations. The upshot is that when operating on patients surgeons are honing their skills rather than learning from scratch. more…

Anna Allan on applying to core training

14 Feb, 14 | by BMJ

Alongside thousands of other trainees, over the past months I have been partaking in the core training application rigmarole. And it is exhausting. For example the process of compiling a portfolio of academic self worth for a 10 minute flick through, is simultaneously self assuring and depressing. The need for a quick and effective selection method nationally results in a nameless, faceless application process that may as well do away with the candidates entirely. Meeting face-to-face is a mere formality, and the questions asked seemingly as indiscriminate as the black folders clutched by hopeful applicants. more…

Keir Arran: A remote and rural foundation programme—a unique experience

1 Nov, 13 | by BMJ Group

keir_arranSeveral recent publications, including the BMA’s Healthcare in a rural setting suggest that there is a shortage of doctors working in rural areas.

I first heard about the N10 rural track foundation programme from a registrar working in A&E when I was a student. He talked about the programme with such enthusiasm that I looked it up and was sold on it instantly. There is some thought that junior doctors, under pressure from the European Working Time Directive and with shorter attachments, have lost the sense of being part of a team. When choosing my foundation posts, a good general medical training was obviously an important factor, but I wanted to achieve this in an environment where I would be recognised and valued as a member of the team, rather than feeling like “just another number.” A rural hospital sounded like it could provide this. more…

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