July 2009
Welcome to DoME News, the termly
newsletter from the Division of Medical Education (DoME) that aims to keep Medical
School staff updated about developments in
the Medical School and the MBBS
(undergraduate) curriculum, and to enable
sharing of good practice between medical
Excellence in Medical Education Award winners
dent Clinical Presidents. These students give
up enormous amounts of their time and energy to looking after the student experience
on our courses. If you see either of them in
meetings be sure to make them welcome.
Four new doctors!
This has been a busy term for staff and
students alike as we have struggled through
Finals. Presentation Day was a gloriously
fitting end to the undergraduate experience at
UCL for many of our students. We hope the
hot weather continues for our new doctors to
enjoy their month of relaxation and recuperation before the world of work beckons.
As ever, it was a delight to be able to present the Excellence in Medical Education
awards to some of our excellent teachers. It
was particularly nice to see both Phase 1
teachers and very junior teachers receiving
the praise they deserve. Further information
on the Excellence in Medical Education
Awards is available on the Medical School
As the academic year draws to a close
there are plenty of updates in Curriculum
News regarding projects started last year and
those due to start next year. We also have a
report from our outgoing and incoming Stu-
We are very happy to announce that two
members of DoME staff have achieved academic promotion in relation to their contribution to teaching and support of learning:
Dr David Bender has been promoted to
Dr Alison Sturrock has been promoted
to Senior Lecturer
Professor Ed Byrne and others at Presentation Day
UCL Division of Medical Education
Director: Professor Jane Dacre ([email protected])
Deputy Directors: Dr Deborah Gill ([email protected]); Dr Peter Raven ([email protected])
Address: 4th floor, Holborn Union Building, Whittington Campus, 2-10 Highgate Hill, London. N19 5LW.
Improving the Student Experience
training environments and their use in medical
education, particularly in UK undergraduate
medical education, is growing. Once qualified,
maintaining a portfolio is an important part of
professional life and so over the last few years
some elements of a portfolio have been developed, mainly in Phase 1 and Year 3.
With the support of Curriculum Committee,
Medical School Administration, DoME and Information Systems we will be developing an ePortfolio over the next few years that should ensure that students have access to a high quality,
user-friendly and educationally robust portfolio
that helps them to record their achievement, reflect on their learning and prepare them for professional practice.
Following the recent MBBS review recommendations in relation to improving the student experience, a £10K UCL Futures grant has been
awarded to DoME. The aims of the grant are
threefold: to improve the experience of disabled
medical students by implementing a peer support network; to improve the Virtual Learning
Environment (VLE) and make it more userfriendly, and to develop a high quality online
forum for final year students to discuss and learn
about the ethical and legal issues they experience in the ‘preparation for practice’ attachments. Watch this space and the VLE for some
of the early outcomes of these projects.
Assessment methodology
A number of staff working in DoME are involved
in developing postgraduate assessments with
the General Medical Council (GMC), the Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board
(PLAB) and the medical Royal Colleges. They
have built up considerable expertise in assessment methodology and the development of high
quality written questions, and this experience is
now being applied to undergraduate assessment. Within the last year, a number of DoME
staff have facilitated five cross-specialty undergraduate question writing workshops across
Phases 1, 2 and 3, for clinicians and scientists of
all grades interested in and involved with medical education. These workshops train UCL staff
in best practice and make use of group discussion and peer review to generate questions of
high standard for use in medical school assessments. The feedback has been positive from the
staff involved and more workshops are planned
for 2009/10, to which interested people are always invited. Please contact Alison Sturrock,
([email protected]), if you are interested in becoming more involved in assessment.
Developing an e-Portfolio for the MBBS Programme
The reforms of undergraduate medical education
following the publication of ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’
by the General Medical Council in 1993 led to an
increased emphasis on the student as a selfdirected, active adult learner. Portfolio-based
learning is now used in many educational and
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
The recommendations in Tomorrow’s Doctors
2009 with their emphasis on the preparation for
practice year have encouraged us to start the
development at what might seem an unusual
place to start: the final year. However, with the
students geographically placed all over the
country (and abroad), the need for students to
ensure they have reached the required competencies and the focus of the year on preparation
for practice, this is in fact a rather sensible place
to start!
We know that to make our portfolio work it needs
to be genuinely useful for the student. It must
allow students to provide evidence of achievements and competencies and encourage reflection on practice. It should also focus on collecting, in a structured way, evidence that will assist
the student in writing application forms and CVs
in the future. As keeping a portfolio is now a part
of all doctors’ lives, it should dovetail with existing and future professional and postgraduate
portfolios and be experienced by the learner as
an integral part of the curriculum. We also know
that we need to keep Faculty informed about
developments and involve them in a meaningful
way that is not too cumbersome or burdensome
with regard time.
During the Preparation for Practice week at the
end of July, students entering the final year will
be introduced to the portfolio and so we have a
fair bit of work over the next two months working
both on content and the interface.
X continued on page 3
Email: [email protected] website:
X continued from page 2
quire interested teachers volunteering to supervise chat rooms and give feedback, to read and
provide feedback to small groups of students for
some cases, and to provide ideas and guidance
around Case of the Month.
The e-Portfolio will be run through the combination of two programmes: Moodle, that all students and most Faculty are familiar with, and
Mahara, which allows students to collate, present and reflect on the work that they do.
We would be delighted to hear from any teacher
who wants to be involved, and to receive your
feedback, good and bad, throughout the pilot
In this first pilot year the portfolio will contain
some self assessment checklists for students to
work with individually that are linked to the GMC
recommended competencies for graduating students. It will also provide areas for reflection that
can be personal or shared with other students or
Faculty. It will allow some submissions of work
and some grade forms to be completed and
stored securely in the student’s portfolio. Mahara
allows students to nominate individuals or
groups to ‘share’ their work, thus allowing tutors
and supervisors to complete forms and mark
work and to allow administrators to ensure all
required course work is completed.
Deborah Gill, Academic lead for Portfolio; Will
Coppola, Sub-dean for e-learning, Steve Rowett,
IS lead for SLMS.
UCL Parent and Family Day
UCL hosted its annual Parent and Family Day
on 14 March 2009, organised for relatives of
UCL undergraduate students. The day comprised a series of activities, all held at UCL’s
central campus in Gower Street. Highlights of
the event included tours of UCL’s museum collections and lectures by current PhD students.
Main addresses were given in the Bloomsbury
Theatre by UCL’s President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant and current parent, UCL
Council member and alumnus Professor Chris
Thompson (UCL Psychology 1974, MBBS 1977,
MD 1987).
Perhaps the most innovative item in the portfolio
and replacing and augmenting the PDS workbook is Case of the Month, a multimedia interactive resource based around a real case that
highlights important learning areas on the journey to starting practice. These cases will raise
issues ranging form communicating with patients
in very difficult circumstances to safe prescribing. Students will engage with the learning tasks
highlighted by the case and will submit work via
their portfolios. Some work will require Faculty to
read and give feedback on students contribution,
others will utilise a student-to-student sharing
and feedback mechanism with chat rooms and
discussion fora. We will ensure that Faculty are
warned about Case of the Month in advance of it
going live and invited to view contents; we don’t
want teachers to be scratching their heads and
wondering why 350 students all want them to
show them how to fill in a death certificate in the
same week! We will also suggest some learning
activities that can be planned around the case
that will help bring the case to life and make the
experience feel fully integrated into the year 5
There were over a thousand visitors — over 100
families of medical students attended during the
course of the day, and Division of Medical Education staff manned an exhibit showcasing the
work of the Faculty regarding education. The
exhibit attracted a lot of attention from medical
students and their families, from families that
have a child interested in studying medicine at
UCL, and even those associated with completely
different Faculties and programmes; perhaps
drawn to our interesting display. Lots of parents
had the chance to learn about the course and
some of the braver visitors got to take blood
from one of our plastic simulation models or
identify the nasty bacteria on their apparently
clean hands (not so popular around lunchtime!).
It was a wonderful opportunity for parents and
family of UCL students to mingle with senior
academics in an informal setting and to have the
opportunity to experience the educational, social
and cultural atmosphere of UCL: and most importantly for parents; to hear how well we looked
after their children!
This will be a pilot year and its success will depend on some hard work by us, some extreme
tolerance by administrators and feedback from
users, both students and tutors. It will also reTel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
Email: [email protected] website:
Vertical Spine in Cancer Medicine
Management of cancer patients has changed significantly over recent years following the introduction of multidisciplinary teams. To reflect this and
ensure provision of state-of-the-art teaching in
cancer medicine the teaching has been reviewed
and is currently undergoing a major overhaul with
the introduction of a Vertical Cancer Medicine
Spine. As a first step towards this year 3 students
have just completed a pilot on the cancer medicine portfolio project. The project, based loosely
on a similar initiative lead by Professor Tim
Maugham in Cardiff, has been designed to provide an understanding of the management of cancer patients in addition to exposure to the patients’ experience of their cancer journey and
practice in forming and ending relationships with
patients. Students were asked at the beginning of
the year to find a cancer patient, who was willing
to share their experience and follow them to their
appointments and investigations for a period of a
few months. Students were encouraged to make
home visits where possible. During the course of
the year students met with their oncology tutors to
discuss their patients’ case histories and give
presentations on topics related to cancer. At the
end of the year an essay on the case history with
a personal reflection and a section on an area of
special interest were submitted to the tutor.
Despite some considerable early reticence on
behalf of the students the majority showed a high
degree of engagement with their patients as demonstrated by the high standard of the essays
which included additional research about cancer
and reflection on the patient experience. For example on choosing an area of interest to study
one student noted:
“During my wider reading one aspect of X’s case
caught my attention. This was her diagnosis of
non-small cell lung cancer following a sigmoid
carcinoma. Statistically speaking lung metastases
are the most common lung tumour. Furthermore
the second most common site that colorectal carcinoma metastasizes to are the lungs……”
Another, on visiting his patient who was terminally
ill at home, reflected:
“19th April – I arrived at 10am at Hayes and Harlington station in the morning and looked at my
watch. It struck me how 10am for me is a time to
get something done, to drag my thoroughly unwilling body out of bed, whereas each 10am to her is
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
potentially the last 10am she will ever experience.
The first question I want to ask her is whether the
days seem faster or slower than they used to or if
there are any other strange feelings about the
passage of time. I arrive at the door.”
This development was not without teething problems especially in relation to students’ fears about
addressing the topic of cancer, delays in patient
recruitment and tutorial group size. To address
this the Module Implementation Group has taken
feedback from students and tutors on board: To
ensure students are prepared for their meeting
with cancer patients an additional lecture has now
been introduced into the preclinical part of the
Cancer Medicine Vertical Spine (Phase 1 Cancer
Biology Module). Additional core teaching on cancer-related aspects such as management of side
effects of cancer treatment will be provided as
part of the Use of Medicines Course in the coming
year. To facilitate initial patient contact students
will be invited to attend oncology clinics at the
start of 2009/10 rather than finding cancer patients on their respective firms. Whilst the cancer
medicine portfolio project forms a core component
of cancer medicine exposure to the management
of cancer patients by cancer specialists will be
provided by additional attendance of oncology
clinics during the clinical course.
Formal evaluation through the on-line system is
underway but some students have already provided positive feedback:
“This project has renewed my interest in the pathology of cancer, the genetics behind cancers as
well as the psycho-social issues involved. Thank
you once again.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed this section of the
year, and I feel that it was a very worthwhile
cause, allowing me to learn much about the patient alongside supplementing my medical knowledge and communication skills. I thoroughly enjoyed all our tutorials, and am very appreciative
of all the work you have put into it. I am continuing
to meet up with my patient and keep a record of
our meetings to supplement my portfolio as we
The Module Implementation Group would like to
take this opportunity to thank the administrators,
Sabine Morris, Chloe Marshall, Rose Clarke and
Katharine Locke who worked so hard to make this
project possible.
Email: [email protected] website:
Student Involvement in the Curriculum
Amanda Smith—Clinical President Elect
It isn’t until you first
meet one of the people that has written a
textbook that you own
that you really begin to
realise the environment you are studying
in is one of the most
prolific and academically stimulating campuses in the world. It
was while being sat on
by my friends trying to
Amanda Smith:
convince me that I Clinical
President 2009-10
would never be accepted as cool again if I asked Dr Bender or
Prof Graham Scambler to sign their books, that I
realised that I should probably get used to being
a tiny part of something much bigger at UCLMS.
Yet not once have lecturers, doctors or any of
the others involved in our education ever implied
we should feel small.
From day one, being surrounded by academics
and clinicians that are leaders in their fields, we
have been made to feel we should aspire to
reach the forefront of our chosen fields like they
have done, despite the constraints of future
‘reconfigurations’! Whether it’s the environment
of UCL, the motivation of SIFT allocations or the
success of TIPS courses, UCL is producing
some of the top medical graduates in the country because of the constant drive for excellent
education standards. Although every 9 weeks
there is a trickle of negative feedback, the feedback is partly down to the high expectations
UCL Medical Students have come to look forward to after years of a world class education.
So don’t be too heart-broken when a 3 out of 5
slips through, we rate each other just as harshly!
(Ahh the joy of PAT . . . . )
It wasn’t until this year I realised how much us
medical students have infiltrated every boardroom of the medical school, and how much work
goes into every aspect of the curriculum, resources and student welfare. The network is far
reaching and running on the enthusiasm of dedicated staff, although working out where some of
the staff fit in sleep is beyond me! I’m thoroughly
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
looking forward to being involved next year, although realise the challenge of following a number of extremely proactive, productive and successful Clinical Presidents, the bar has been set
pretty high! I hope to represent the students‘
best interests as best I can as the Medical
School faces some tough challenges over the
next year, and look forward to working with the
Dan Swerdlow—outgoing Clinical President
The prospect of spending a year sitting in meetings of the highest-level committees in the Medical School is a daunting one. The fact that students' contribution to these meetings is not only
welcomed but also encouraged makes up for a
great deal of the initial trepidation. This year
has given me the opportunity to present students' concerns to leading members of the
School Faculty, discuss them in some considerable depth and, in the majority of cases, to find
a solution that works for both the School and for
the students. Issues have ranged from implementation of blood-borne virus testing to module
planning, from welfare support to facilities provision. The willingness of the School to take students' views into consideration has been refreshing and encouraging and makes for a constructive and effective dialogue. There have, of
course, been disagreements, but we have
worked through them and found solutions.
To see and be part of the impact of student input into the complex Medical School machine
has been exciting and stimulating. I think we
convey to students all too infrequently the extent
to which members of their cohort are involved in
the School's internal workings and the ability
they have to make their views known. Perhaps,
if we did, the School-student relationship might
be even more effective than it currently is.
Spending this year as a student representative
has required a very steep learning curve for me,
but I have enjoyed it immensely, and I am especially grateful for the continued support and encouragement of the School for effective student
Email: [email protected] website:
I attended the conference as a delegate, but
also worked with Deborah Gill, Jane Richardson, Lorraine Noble and other DoME staff to
organise the ACME stand at the event. Our
stall was strewn with shiny sweets, which did
well to attract passing research staff to our
stand, but perhaps did fewer favours for the
UK’s obesity epidemic.
ACME stand at the UCL Research Staff Conference 2009
On 22nd June this year, the UCL Research
Staff Conference brought together approximately 300 research staff and students from
UCL and beyond. The conference aims, as I
interpreted them, were to inspire researchers to
address important research questions, provide
training on specific research issues, and allow
researchers to network in order to encourage
collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects.
Once at our stand, many delegates complete
the ACME prize questionnaire, which was designed to inform them about ACME and DoME.
It was surprising how many people did not realise that you might find an educationalist in a
medical education research department and
appeared to think ACME is populated entirely
by statisticians.
The conference consisted of a mix of plenary
and parallel sessions. One of the big draws
was Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield who
talked about what she perceived to be the big
questions of 21st century research: how the
use of personal computers (“screen culture”) is
affecting our health, our learning, our brains,
and our humanity. She also discussed some of
the barriers we need to overcome to conduct
high impact important research. It was interesting to hear one of the most prominent female
scientists talk about the ongoing problem of
sexism, as well as how to use the media to
convey your research findings effectively.
Other delegates gave us their email addresses
in order to collaborate on our educational research projects, which we summarised using a
slideshow of our recent publications. Many
delegates came to enquire about studying
medicine as graduates, and were particularly
interested in the fees they would have to pay.
We questioned them closely about their reasons for wanting to become doctors, and
pointed them in the direction of the UCL Careers stand opposite.
Susan Greenfield emphasised, as did many
other speakers, the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in addressing large and important research questions. Interdisciplinary
research is something we in DoME are wellversed in: the 4th floor at the Whittington Campus alone houses, clinicians, educationalist,
sociologists and psychologists.
The day ended with an evening drinks and canapés event, where we were serenaded by the
UCL Orchestra as we sipped chilled white wine certainly one of the most pleasant ways I’ve
gained research training credits this year.
The ACME questionnaire prize winner was Ms
Viktoria Tchetchelnitski, from the Neural Development Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health.
The plenary sessions were followed by morning
and afternoon parallel seminars. I attended one
on the practicalities of applying for grant funding at UCL and another on leading a successful
research team. I’m hoping to implement the
skills I learned in both these sessions in the
very near future. At lunchtime (sushi and cake
for me), delegates were encouraged to peruse
the stands set up by various departments
within UCL to advertise their wares.
Katherine Woolf
Research Associate, ACME, DoME
Tel: 020 7288 5964 Fax: 020 7288 3322 Email: [email protected] website:
“My doctor recently told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years
older already.” MILTON BERLE
Running the London Marathon
Being the sort of person who enjoys a challenge, I
set myself the task last year of completing my first
marathon. However, as the new year dawned, I
realised quite what a challenge that was actually
going to be!
I have always been a bit of a fair weather runner
and never really understood people who wanted
to put themselves through gruelling distances on
a regular basis come rain or shine. That all
changed in January this
year, when I realised
that I was going to have
to train at least 4 times a
week despite the cold,
dark mornings and dismal, wet evenings. Fortunately, I took on the
challenge with a friend,
a North London surgeon. Having someone
else to head out into the
cold with made all the
difference. Between us,
since the New Year, we
have clocked up over
350 training miles and run from Camden to all
corners of London, including Greenwich, Richmond, Alexandra Palace and Wembley. Training
does take over your life, with planning runs,
watching what you eat, staying well hydrated and
fundraising. We often joked that we wouldn’t
know what to talk about when it was all done.
The London Marathon is the biggest fund raising
event in the world and we decided we wanted to
raise money for Shelter, the homeless charity. As
part of our golden bond place, we were set a
minimum target of £1600 each. So along with 15
mile runs at the weekend, we put our efforts into
fundraising, holding a series of car boot sales.
We were also generously supported by a number
of people, including many in DoME, who donated
through our Just Giving page. I am pleased to
say we made our target and were able to run on
the day in our red Shelter vests.
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
Running the race itself is, strangely, one of the
most enjoyable things I have ever done. We
were lucky enough to have a glorious day, although the hot weather did cause quite a few
casualties. The atmosphere at the start in Greenwich Park is electric. It seems like the whole of
London comes out to cheer you along and the
street entertainment is fantastic, with bands, bell
ringers, mobile DJs and street dancers, never
mind the fancy dress runners. At about 16 miles
it became really hard and I struggled psychologically and had to walk for a couple of miles. However, it’s impossible
to feel too down
cheering you on by
name and shouting
By about 19 miles I
found my energy
again and ran all
the way to the end,
finishing in 5 hours
and 23 minutes – a
slow race but a
memorable one.
I would thoroughly recommend running the London Marathon. The training is hard but being part
of an event like that and raising so much money
for a good cause can’t be beaten. If I can do it,
anyone can!
Luci Etheridge
Clinical Academic Teaching Fellow, ACME
‘Race for Life’
Luci isn’t the only member of DoME staff raising
money for charity this summer, however…
Heather Mitchell, Joanne Turner, Marcia Rigby
and Deborah Lucas-Georgiou will all be doing
there bit by taking part in the Cancer Research
‘Race for Life’ this month. Good luck!
Email: [email protected] website:
The assessment for this SSC is a reflective
document. Students often write very insightful
reflections of their experiences as a learner at
Medical School and their initial experiences of
teaching. This submission was particularly creative and says some very important and insightful
things about teaching.
Teaching and Learning SSC—a reflective
DoME runs a number of SSCs in the domain of
teaching and learning. This includes a Year 1
SSC introducing students to fundamentals of
teaching and a better understanding of learning.
When I chose this SSC
I knew that I might find
The teacher’s teacher, Deidre,
To be mannered mild and kind.
But as long as I remember,
That I know a lesson plan,
I’ll warmly call to mind my friends:
At first I found where it was held,
Through word of mouth alone,
And I turned up to UCH
CSC all alone.
While the main objectives session,
Was missed because of sleep,
The learning from the session notes,
I shall forever keep:
When others in the SSC,
Then started to turn up,
I recognised just one of them,
While on free food I supped.
Before I’d read them, when I tried
To write objectives down,
I realised I’d included,
Every unwanted noun;
So with anticipation,
We entered the classroom,
While myself and others still
Continued to consume.
“Know” and “understand”,
“Appreciate” and “learn” –
Upon my presentation slide,
Each one had had their turn.
I was impressed immediately,
By Deidre’s charm and rule;
One felt at ease yet knew that he’d,
Be punished if a fool.
In the future when I have,
To teach some kind of session,
I’ll stress the topic’s usefulness,
For the students’ progression.
We learned of different learning styles,
Rather ironically,
And it seemed that most of us
Would learn things similarly.
And when I’ve covered something,
I’ll ask questions which revolve
Around knowledge and application,
And those to problem-solve.
Activist, reflector,
Was this how I learnt?
I agreed, while some, indeed,
Claimed they simply weren’t.
I found myself applying,
Evaluation in general life,
Approach a topic in a way,
That will provoke least strife.
The brief glimpses of theory,
Went in but were forgot,
But I still have my hand-outs to,
Remind me of the plot.
For instance when rehearsing
For “Battle of the Bands”,
If ideas were contrary,
We’d meet each others’ demands.
The lesson plan made sense,
As to what was when and why,
But on remembering mnemonics,
I feel I can’t rely.
This SSC enabled me,
To appreciate a summary;
Cementing what you’ve learnt,
Not thinking about being free.
X continued on page 9
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
Email: [email protected] website:
TIPS course update
X continued from page 8
Demand for TIPS courses remains extremely high.
At the time of writing, all upcoming TIPS courses
were full. Further dates will be announced online
at the earliest possible opportunity.
The microteach was fun to do
And just as fun to watch.
I saw the passion in our eyes,
We cranked it up a notch.
Please see the TIPS webpages for further information:
I sympathise with teachers
And lecturers alike,
Who truly make an effort
To teach my year of tykes.
Postgraduate developments
The process of fully modularising all Postgraduate
Taught courses across FBS is nearing completion,
and the provision of Taught Masters courses is
increasing. A meeting of Programme Directors and
module leads is due to take place in September
2009 to explore the options for module sharing
across the Faculty. This will ultimately enable students to tailor their learning according to their particular needs, and may help reduce duplication of
teaching provision across the Faculty.
And am angered by those teachers,
Who arrogantly still teach
In a manner lacking passion,
Yet who seem they want to preach.
But considering the other side,
It upsets me now to think,
Of teachers who prepare all night,
Barely sleeping a wink,
And whose energy and time,
Can so harshly be shot down
With a feedback form filled in,
By some child of no renown.
New postgraduate courses in DoME
Still, I’d like to think that,
There’s no need to be forlorn,
Since now, nine improved students,
And future teachers have been born.
Joshua Elliot MBBS Yr1
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
DoME is pleased to announce that it will be offering additional Masters level modules from 2009.
DoME currently runs a successful MSc Medical
Education programme in conjunction with the
Royal College of Physicians. Drawing on other
educational expertise within the Division, DoME
will be offering modules in teaching ethics and law,
the practical aspects of assessment, educational
supervision, and teaching and learning in medical
education. The new modules will be open to both
medically- and non-medically-qualified applicants.
Other developments in the pipeline also include
the provision of an education psychometrics pathway, and the development of a full Masters in Education pathway open to clinicians and scientists
involved and / or interested in medical education.
Email: [email protected] website:
Women and Medicine—the future
Paediatrics teaching at the Whittington
The results of a research project entitled
“Women and Medicine—the future” were published on the 3rd of May by the Royal College of
Physicians of London. The research steering
group was chaired by Professor Jane Dacre
from DoME, and was performed by Dr Mary Ann
Elston from Royal Holloway. It featured in several national newspapers and has provoked an
interesting debate. The research is a collation of
the available data on women in medicine, with
additional material from facilitated seminars. It is
a snapshot of a moving picture which has shown
that we are in the midst of a demographic revolution in the medical profession. The results show
that women are reaching consultant status in
increasing numbers – and predicts they will become the majority of doctors by 2013 for GPs
and 2017 for all doctors.
We are going to blast our
own trumpets! In the recently collected data from
the PMETB (Postgraduate
Medical Education and
Training Board) we received the highest accolade. Trainees in Paediatrics from all over London
Dr Caroline Fertleman
rate the Trust in which they
work and this information was collected early in
2009 and distributed in
June. At the Whittington we
scored ‘outstanding’ in the
overall impression category.
We were the only North London Trust to do so. To score
at this level trainees must
rate the institution above the
95th percentile. Similarly we
backed the only two successful academic trainees
for paediatric fellowships at
the Royal Society of Medicine (Sarah Eisen and Sara Dr Sarah Eisen
Women show a relative preference for part time
working, and prefer specialties where the work is
more planable and less technology oriented. This presents a challenge for the workforce planners, who will need to take these preferences into account to preserve the delivery of
high quality care for the future.
As lead for paediatric
postgraduate and undergraduate education at the
Whittington, I believe that
the quality of postgraduate training is mirrored in
the undergraduate setting.
Year on year we get excellent feedback from undergraduates who do their
paediatric rotation at the
Whittington This is because we have worked
hard to become a
‘learning team’ ensuring
we pay attention to
Dr Sara Hamilton
the learning environment,
the needs of our learners and the inclusion of
learners in the team.
At the moment, women are also less likely to be
found in the very senior leadership positions
such as Clinical Academics at professorial level,
Medical Directors of Trusts, or College Presidents. Some of this is due to the fact that women
make up only 20% of those consultants over the
age of 55,
who normally get these positions. There is also a concern that women are
less able to contribute to extra duties which are
often out of hours, or involve travel overseas.
These conflict with family responsibilities, as society still expects women to be the main carers
of children and the elderly.
At UCL, we are half way through a pilot which is
part of the Gender Equality Scheme. We have
set up a mentoring scheme and have trained a
cadre of mentors from the Faculty of Biomedical
Sciences. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive…….we are waiting to see if
it makes a difference.
Dr Caroline Fertleman
Education Lead at Whittington Hospital
The report which has a long and a short version
is available to download for free from the Royal
College of Physicians website:
Tel: 020 7288 5964
Fax: 020 7288 3322
Email: [email protected] website: