Dr Elaine Hui talks about her experience of being a regional adviser in London.
As a relative ‘newbie’ regional adviser (RA), I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend taking on this role. In a time when practising medicine can feel quite disheartening and frustrating, being an RCP RA gives me a sense of fulfilment and belonging to my region and the RCP as a whole. It was daunting at first, but the amount of support I received from a network of RAs, RCP representatives, and regional managers and coordinators have made the job easier.
My medical training was in London, from medical student to consultant. I still remember that my first line in my UCAS application form was ‘Medicine is both an art and a science’. It’s a bit cringe-worthy thinking about it now after more than 20 years, but I still believe that having the art of compassion and continually developing scientific knowledge is crucial for physicians to maintain professional standards. I always tell my patients or people interested in doing medicine that it was Dr Doug Ross (aka George Clooney from ER) who inspired me to choose medicine. We usually have a good laugh and they would agree he was a good model doctor.
After 5 years as a substantive consultant in diabetes and endocrinology and acute medicine, I was looking for new challenges. A chance email led me to find out more about the role from Dr David Cohen, our previous RA for the London (North West) region. He has been an absolutely amazing mentor by giving me his personal experiences as an RA and providing guidance on the first few new consultant job descriptions that I reviewed as a new RA. We are the link between local physician colleagues and the RCP, highlighting issues and helping to make changes. I felt privileged to be working as an RA during the COVID-19 pandemic as it brought to light the issues surrounding doctors’ wellbeing, training and the enormous pressures on our medical workforce, and what everyone is doing to manage this.
What advice would I give to someone who wants to become an RA? If you are interested in education and training and keen to be get involved with the RCP, go for it! Read up about the role on the RCP website, including the annual census and policy workforce. The RCP also provides a guidance manual for RAs on ‘approving job descriptions’. Most importantly, speak to your current RAs.
Want to become a regional adviser?
We are currently seeking nominations for regional advisers in the following regions: East Midlands North, Northern Ireland, Northern, Oxford and Thames Valley, Peninsula, Wales (South West). If you are a fellow in one of these regions and would be interested in becoming a regional adviser find out more here.