RCP Cymru vice president Dr Olwen Williams OBE shares tips and advice.
Five months into this pandemic and the message I’m hearing from our members in Wales is around their concern about ongoing education, training and professional development, both at postgraduate and undergraduate levels. The paucity of face-to-face training which brings with it a richness and scrutiny of an individual’s ability to interpret and analyse the fundamentals of presenting signs and symptoms is distressing to both trainers and trainees.
We are aware that our large educational events are now virtual and that we miss that social contact and informal learning that goes hand in hand with conferences. Re-instatement of the MRCP(UK) exams has occurred (link). However, we have gone through the biggest learning curve in modern medicine and I’d like to reflect on how we have educated ourselves during this time.
We have been fortunate that the RCP has been agile and recognised, in a timely manner, the need for online education by introducing the RCP Player, which along with the bimonthly teach-ins provides hours of CPD. We can all now schedule our learning, often from the comfort of our own homes.
Informal sharing of breaking news regarding COVID-19 via social media has often alerted us to important issues and the All Wales COVID-19 Hospital Guideline Platform, to which many of our members contributed to and utilised as an ongoing source of information.
We have learnt about aspects of medicine that we may not normally have considered such as health inequalities and social determinants of health, and the impact of racism in medicine (many of you may have watched the webinar, if not it can be viewed here) – certainly an area for ‘education’ . Public health and pandemic infection control with contact tracing for many will be a new field of interest.
But, one thing I think we have learnt over this time is managing our own wellbeing – fundamental in maintaining morale and teams. I’ve been impressed with the services on offer in Wales – have a read of this article by Kate Edwards, our trainee representative. We need to ensure that our ‘self-care’ continues as without doubt there are further challenges to face.