Month: September 2013

What to do if you have a trainee in difficulty?

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difficultyThe term ‘trainees in difficulty’ is used to describe any trainee who requires support in the workplace. This encompasses clinical performance, personal performance, health and disciplinary matters.

Sadly the term carries some baggage and is often perceived to be something of a badge of the failing doctor. This is not true. Many clinicians face issues in their personal and professional lives that require support from their colleagues and employers. The postgrad team are often involved in issues that affect trainees and owing to the varied nature and complexity of many of the cases we have adopted the very sensible advice of the deanery in managing trainees. A description of the guidance can be found here.

The process can be summarised in the flow chart below.


If a trainer or trainer is any doubt about how to proceed then please get in touch with postgrad and we will guide you through the process.

A static doctors in difficulty page is also on the website which we will keep updated if any changes to process take place.

SimWars World Championship

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IMG_8924 2Not a lot of people know this, but 75% of the self proclaimed SimWars champions of the world are here at CMFT.

WARNING – slight conflict of interest coming up.

What is SimWars?

SimWars was invented in the US as the antidote to ‘touchy-feely’ feedback in resuscitation education. The basic premise is that teams of clinicians are tasked to perform a live simulated resuscitation in front of an audience. Each team is scored against clinical care, team working, leadership and overall performance.

This is resuscitation with competition. It’s performed live, in front of an audience of peers and in some cases with the world watching. Unsurprisingly it originated in America and you can hear a little bit more about it in the video below.

Sim Wars from Ernest Wang on Vimeo.

What’s the point?

You may well ask! This is not just about education, it’s not just about entertainment, it’s a combination or ‘Medutainment’ if you like inventing words. SimWars is about making learning fun and challenging. Sure, it’s not going to replace formal educational events, but every so often teams might just want to let their hair down and engage in a bit of friendly competition.

So tell me about the SimWars champion stuff then.

OK. In March 2013 a team of 4 emergency physicians travelled from the UK to Sydney Australia for the Social Media and Critical Care Conference (SMACC). This brought together experts in resuscitation from around the world to talk, share and blog about training and education in critical care/emergency medicine. Simon Carley, Natalie May and Alan Grayson are currently here at CMFT with the fourth member of the team being Iain Beardsell who is based in Southampton.

The Australians took the competition to a whole new level with teams required to submit ‘entertaining’ entry videos that highlighted a key component of resuscitation skill or teamwork such as this amazing video from Sydney HEMS who had I had the pleasure to fly within 2013. Be warned – this has a rude word in it and may upset anesthesiologists….

Natalie, Chris (SMACC convenor) and Iain
Natalie, Chris Nickson (SMACC convenor) and Iain

The teams performed live in front of an audience of 600 people at the Sydney Conference Centre, with the whole event being screened live to thousands around the world. This was a little stressful to be honest, but despite this the team used the power of the internet and #FOAMed to resuscitate and save the patient who had suffered a snake bite to a part of the anatomy that we cannot mention here………(remember that this was Australia).

The patient's wife unexpectedly presented an extra problem
The team in action at SMACC 2013
The patient’s wife chose to bring the snake to the resuscitation area – we do not recommend this….!

Clearly we were delighted to win the audience vote and just like the England cricket team of late we came away with the spoils of victory.

So would SimWars work in England and at CMFT?

Well, it’s been tried in London with great success for Emergency Medicine trainees there, so yes, but I also wonder if this is something that we could do here at CMFT? Would there be interest from departments across the trust in putting forward a team for a hospital wide SimWars at some point in 2014? We have the kit, we have a team of trainers and we have some fantastic resuscitationists so the elements are here, but only if there is enthusiasm for standing up in front of colleagues and showing us what you’re made of. We have a simulator up and running in the ED and there are many others around the trust, at undergraduate level all our 5th year students will be receiving simulation training this year so I’m confident that there should be some willing teams out there…., but are there?

It would certainly spice up a grand round or local educator conference….., so I’m really interested to hear what you think.

And what about a return?

Well, it’s next year to be honest. The team is returning to the Gold Coast of Australia in March 2014 at SMACC Gold to defend the title and we are expecting a tough time as the Australians aim to take the trophy back. This year we hear of teams from the USA, Ireland and Europe so the competition will be of an even higher standard than in 2013. We look to the England cricket team can set the standard by retaining the Ashes this winter,  but even if they don’t we aim to do England proud down under.

New consultant appointments in Postgraduate medical education

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I am absolutely delighted to announce a range of new appointments in Postgraduate medicine. We are embarking on some real change in the way that we support and manage postgraduate education in the trust and the new appointments are going to be key to making it work.

So, the new structures in the trust look a little like this.

Just PG structure

The appointment of 4 new Associate Directors of Medical Education (aDME) will allow us to outreach into the various divisions in the trust by building a more direct relationship with trainers and trainees. Each aDME will have a responsibility for oversight of one or more divisions (a patch responsibility) whilst also holding a trust wide portfolio (for example leading on doctors in difficulty).

Our new aDMEs are..

  • Margaret Kingston, consultant in Genito-Urinary Medicine
  • John Bright, consultant in Acute Medicine
  • Mark Forrest, consultant in Cardiac Anaesthesia
  • Fiona Spencer, consultant Ophthalmologist

…and our new Foundation team is…

  • Lesley Doyle, FPD, consultant in Cardiac Anaesthesia
  • Preeti Shah, aFPD, consultant in Rheumatology
  • Alan Grayson, aFPD, consultant Emergency Physician

…and no change to

  • Simon Carley, Postgraduate Director of Medical Education, consultant Emergency Physician
  • Anna Kelsey, Associate Medical Director (with responsibility for Med Ed), consultant in Paediatric Histopathology
  • Tony Armstrong, Associate Director of Med Education
  • Karen Stuart, Head of Postgraduate medical education
  • Claire Whitfield, Staff & Associate Specialist lead, GUM
  • Sujesh Bansal, International Tutor, consultant Anaesthetist
  • John Butler, ACCS lead, consultant Intensivist (EM)

This is a great team of experienced clinicians and educators and I’m sure we are going to do great things.

Postgraduate ward rounds – a pilot project at CMFT.

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We are always of looking for better ways of engaging with trainees at CMFT. Something that we are trialling across the trust in the next few months will be the concept of ‘educational ward rounds’.

Ed – do you really want more ward rounds??

Well not exactly, the idea is that the PG team will visit trainees in their place of work, so it’s us doing the rounding not you. We want to come to you just as much as we want you to come to us. In the past we have asked trainees to come to us for meetings and whilst this has been very helpful it’s not always the same as meeting in the clinical environment itself. So, we have been trialling the idea of members of PG (clinicians and admin) to go out into the wards and clinical areas to ‘bump into’ and talk to trainees about their training.

Our early experience suggests that this gives a different perspective on training and helps us learn more about what it’s like to be a junior doc at CMFT. It’s also a way for us to interact with trainees who might struggle to attend the more ‘organised’ trainee meetings (for example as a result of shifts etc.).

So, if a member of the team drops into your ward and asks how you’re doing we’d love to hear your feedback. Don’t be scared we’re there to help:-)

Undergraduate medicine site at CMFT.

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Just a quick post to highlight the excellent CMFT undergraduate site. It’s also public facing and demonstrates their excellent work.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 08.54.46If you’re interested in getting involved in undergraduate education (and you should be) get in touch.

If you’re part of our trust then it’s almost certain that you will be involved in the teaching of med students and postgrads and the two departments are spending an increasing amount of time working on joint projects. So, please visit the site and contribute.

They also have some fab videos online at their youtube site.

I particularly like this one (for obvious reasons), though the special place in hell line is a little strong!