Starting as an F1 – can you remember what it’s like?

Our new juniors start next week and it’s a really exciting time for them and us, but can you remember what it’s like?

These docs can. Watch, listen and remember…., and once you remember then reflect on what we can do to help them through this amazing transformation from Med Student to Doctor.

This tremendous video from Short Sharp Scratch productions, a great bunch of docs in Birmingham. Check out their website for more awesome (especially if you love ENT)



Amelie – A Mother’s Pledge in Action

midwives lesley chan, miya bangar, vicky holmes and greta kearney_300x172


Last month the Postgrad team attended a Deaf Awareness workshop as part of our Trust’s Equality and Diversity Week. We went to learn about how to support members of staff who have hearing difficulties, but also to see if we could contribute as one of us was born with unilateral neural deafness.

It was an excellent event where we met people with the same condition as our team member, and learnt a great deal. More importantly, we had an unexpected networking opportunity.

At the workshop, we met the inspirational Lesley Chan – mother, midwife at CMFT and champion for multi-sensory impaired children.  Lesley was a dental nurse but retrained as a midwife after her daughter Amelie’s traumatic birth.

Amelie, who is now nine years old, has had 22 operations. She has no hearing nerves, so she will never hear sounds or speak, and she is partially sighted. She also needs 24/7 nursing care. Amelie and Lesley designed a board to explain the basics of sign-language to staff, and want to continue their work educating clinicians. Lesley made a pledge during NHS Change Day which was widely publicised.

You can view their short video story here – its well worth a watch and made us think about what the Postgrad team could do to help.

 Lesley’s mission is to raise awareness of simple sign language amongst clinicians to help communication with patients old and young alike. Thanks to our Foundation Team, we are able to invite Lesley to be a part of our formal teaching programme for Foundation Doctors to showcase her work.  We plan to provide an engaging teaching session for trainees that is interactive with some simple health care signs that are universal, fun and easy to learn.








Foundation Trainees Make a Difference


Following on from Natalie’s blog on NHS Change Day (,  Dr Alan Grayson, our F1 tutor did a great piece of work recently with our Foundation Doctors which caught the team’s eye.

Each trainee was asked during a group teaching session to make a Pledge. There were lots of promises – from being more effective operationally to improving communication skills to make a difference to patients’ experience.

It was a great opportunity to showcase the commitment and compassion of our junior medical staff. A very positive reminder to all of us (especially those of us in the ‘back office’ functions) just what and who we are here for, and why we come into the office every day.

These are some of the team’s favourites from the pledges our trainees made:

  • Keep my patients informed, even when we are busy
  • I pledge to ask the nurses if there’s anything they need before leaving the ward on a Friday for the weekend
  • Use #hellomynameis in my day to day (read more about the inspirational Kate Granger and this idea further down this blog)
  • I will make sure that I ask all my patients “if there is anything they would like to discuss”
  • I pledge to ask my patients if I can get anything for them after I have reviewed them
  • Smile!
  • Be friendlier on the phone – especially when on call
  • Learn names of staff (especially nurses)
  • Spend more time with medical students
  • I will always ask what a patient would like to be called
  • I won’t just mumble my grumbles – I will act on them

Dr Kwak has gone Quackers… @CMFTPgrad

Waiting to present

Wednesday saw the annual junior doctors presentation competition at the medical grand round. The competition has been running for several years and usually attracts a range of presentation and projects to be judged by senior clinicians in the trust.

This year saw a great turn out with six presentations from foundation doctors on topics ranging from the management of thyroid surgery to cardiac disease. So, six fantastic presentations from doctors at the beginning of their careers with clear signs of great things to come. The candidates were…..

  • Caroline Oswald
  • Rebecca Stout
  • Monica Krishnan
  • Kun Kwak
  • Hannah Baird
  •  Alice Wilson

However, this was a competition and that means we had to have a winner, and it was an unusual one. Kun Kwak one of our current F2s in Ophthalmology produced a presentation that blew the judges away. Kun revealed his artistic talents by showing us how comics can be used for education in healthcare.

6313929For example have you ever read Cancer Vixens? No? I haven’t either but it seems that comics as information for patients is a burgeoning field.

IMG_2935Kun himself focused his presentation around his reflections as a junior doctor. As we will all be aware, reflective practice is a required skill for

Dr Kun Kwak
Dr Kun Kwak

doctors and forms a large part of the foundation portfolio. Kun has taken this need for reflection and turned it into a comic describing his experiences as a new starter in medicine. Portraying the experience in graphical rather than written form adds a whole new dimension. You can see the presentation by following this link.

Screenshot 2014-01-18 09.09.44

Let us know what you think and if you want to know more then I’m sure Kun would love to hear from you.



Screenshot 2014-01-18 09.19.20

Shape of Training released. What are the implications?

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 14.52.00A really important release this week on how we might see specialist, generalist and primary care training change in future years.

If you are involved in UG or PG then this is essential reading….for example…..

  • 1. Registration to take place at the end of med school (not at the end of F1)
  • 2. More flexible training times with longer placements.
  • 3. Broad based speciality training as opposed to early super-specialisation

Anyway, you really need to read this and consider how things might change in your area of practice. You can find the full document here.


and if you’d prefer there is a video explaining the rationale here.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts like Damian’s here…


New Foundation docs: Linnet Clough 2013

IMG_1644 We are delighted to welcome the new foundation dos to CMFT. Forty-Eight new starters across the trust who will be integral to patient care here for years to come. First impressions are that we’ve attracted a bright bunch of enthusiastic and engaging trainees which is fantastic, and having completed 2 weeks of shadowing they are up and running as of this week.

Let’s not forget that the foundation years can be tough though. The first rung of the medical career ladder represents one of the biggest changes to a doctor (the other being the step up to Consultant), and it’s vital that our trainees have great support. Whilst the trust can and will support trainees there is no doubt that your peers in the same grade are really important.

So, to help speed up the bonding process, to learn some leadership skills, to find out more about each other and the foundation teams we spent a day in the Peaks training, running, climbing, paddling and swimming.

Did it work?

In the view of the instructors – absolutely! At the start of the day the 8 teams – well they weren’t really working as teams….. We saw groups working as individuals, but by the end of the day they were clearly working together, supporting each other and achieving their goals. All this will be important in the workplace and especially during those first on calls.

The activities were

  • Orienteering
  • Raft Building
  • High ropes
  • Low ropes
  • Plus, getting there, on time, not getting lost, looking after an egg for the entire day (Ed- Why the egg????)

So, here are a selection of photos from the day. If you want more then get in touch. As you can see…..some rafts were better than others!!!

Low ropes course – team tasks
No prizes for rafting on land!!!!
Confidence before floatation
Errr………not sure that’s what you were hoping for.
Swim for it!
Is she floating???
A fab bunch – we’re lucky to have them with us.
The teams developed a strong sense of self……, this led to some cheating ;-)
Hmmm, I’d write your own caption for this one….
One of these rafts worked slightly better than the other. Can you tell which?

I’d like to personally thank all the trainees who showed willing to take part and get stuck in, but especially to the instructors and organisers of what turned out to be a fantastic day.

Sharon Gibbs gets top marks for once again organising the day beautifully.