The future of academic training (2)

Having just said that we’re all paediacademiatricians, maybe I should be happier about the suggestion that my academic training should/could “count” towards my training time.  After all, I’m training as a paediatric academic; so surely both my academic & clinical roles should be included in my training time.  And there are some important and amazing things that I’m learning during my PhD that is relevant to paediatrics: communication, and shared decision-making.  My ACF showed me how important team-working is to parents; how an open culture of discussion improves patient safety… Loads of things that are clinically relevant, but that probably aren’t part of the core curriculum.

So why don’t I want my academic time to “count” towards my clinical training time? After all, I’ve just said how useful it is.

Here it is: when I’m on-call in my clinical world, I’m not an “academic paediatrician registrar”.  I’m the paediatric registrar.  That’s it.  If I’m looking after your child at 3am on the acute admissions unit, or at 3pm in clinic, you don’t care if I have a PhD or an MD or a lab full of cilia.  (Not that I would ever have a lab full of cilia, but apparently, some people like that kind of thing).  You probably don’t even care if I’ve learnt that stickers are really, really important.  You might not even care that my research has shown me that young children are social actors who are frequently ignored in the clinical setting… (We’re paediatricians – we should probably know the last two anyway).

All you care about is my clinical skill, because when I go to work on acute admissions or clinic or wards, I go to work as a clinician.  On Thursdays & Fridays & alternate Wednesdays, I am a paediatrician.  I don’t want my Mondays/Tuesdays to count for that time, because on Mondays & Tuesdays, I’m an academician.

That child in clinic or admissions or on the ward deserves a consultant who is a competent clinician.  If doing research gives me some extra skills, then that’s great.  If having your own children gives you different skills, then that’s brilliant too.  But nobody says that having your own children means that you should spend less time training as a clinician, even though that’s a whole load of multi-tasking, time-management, people-management skills that sound quite useful.  My research path might give me some great insights & skills that I don’t get as a clinician, and but they don’t make me a clinician.

What makes me a clinician is my training time as a paediatrician, and I don’t care how long that takes.

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