Reflections of an associate college tutor – working to improve the junior doctor experience

Dr Katie Honney, RCP associate college tutor (ACT) and ST4 geriatric medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, discusses the projects and initiatives she has been involved in as an ACT.

I have been very fortunate and privileged to have had the opportunity to be an ACT for the past 4 years, initially during my core medical training at a large teaching hospital and now, in my junior registrar years, at a smaller district general hospital.

I have used the role primarily to improve training and education for core medical trainees and to work alongside various members of the specialty trainee committee within each deanery to, for example, develop regional training days that explore various aspects of the curriculum that are less well covered locally. I have also worked closely with the deanery, the current college tutor (CT) and the local PACES examiners to create a robust programme for trainees who are preparing locally for membership of the RCP.

More recently, I have developed my remit to include junior doctors of all levels within my trust by setting up a junior doctors forum. Engaging the most junior doctors in the workforce and developing their ideas (through quality improvement projects and teaching programme reviews) has been highly rewarding. The role of ACT has also helped me to bring together a group of doctors who are training in very politically challenging times but who wish to keep education at the centre of their work.

For me, probably the most important aspect of the ACT role is to have been given the scope and resource to engage with trainees.

Dr Katie Honney, RCP associate college tutor

Historically, compared with core medical trainees, higher speciality trainees have not engaged as consistently with their CT. This is something that I have experienced personally and I have recently, alongside the head of school, explored the views of higher speciality trainees and their relationship with the CT. This has enabled the development of region-specific plans to improve the experience of higher speciality trainees. For example, I am currently developing a regional procedures course for medical registrars, which is something that was felt to be necessary by the trainee representatives with whom I meet throughout the year.

In addition to these local projects, I have been given various opportunities to work closely with the RCP and I have subsequently acquired a deeper understanding of the ways that the RCP works to address the educational needs of junior doctors.

For me, probably the most important aspect of the ACT role is to have been given the scope and resource to engage with trainees on the ‘shop floor’ and to understand trainees’ training needs and concerns, and to communicate these effectively to the RCP and to the deanery in order to improve the junior doctor experience.

Please consult the RCP website for details on how you can become an associate college tutor.

You can also contact Dr Katie Honney for more information on her experience of the role: katiehonney@hotmail.com.