In this blog Dr Punith Kempegowda, 2020 Turner-Warwick lecturer for the West Midlands, speaks about his experiences with the RCP lecturer scheme and how he’s learned trainee doctors can do anything when they put their minds to it.
Junior doctors are often at the heart of any service development or quality improvement project. Irrespective of the success or impact of such projects, the credit usually goes to the consultant in charge in the current system. Perhaps rightly so, as they indeed take the overall responsibility and provide a guiding light throughout the venture. However, some of the spoils of this success should be given to the junior doctors in the team. In view of this, the Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme is an excellent initiative by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), celebrating the hard work and toil of trainee doctors and giving recognition to one of the biggest groups of unsung heroes. This scheme provides inspiration to trainees, not only to the winners but also to all their peers, setting them on the road to success.
On a personal note, I believe an award or prize is not the end point towards which one should work. Instead, it is a springboard which will help us achieve something much bigger and better. My Turner-Warwick lectureship, in this sense, has been equivalent to a ‘nitro boost’ to my engines. Since the award, the Simulation via Instant Messaging - Birmingham Advance (SIMBA) project has exponentially increased in magnitude and has enabled several more trainees and medical students from diverse backgrounds to rediscover their passion for medicine.
While we had plans to roll this out eventually, the Turner-Warwick lecture scheme expedited this process by opening many new doors and moving progress faster.
SIMBA emerged from three points of frustration among medical students and junior doctors:
- lecture-based learning was not helping us translate much into clinical application
- nearly impossible systems to follow-up patients from initial presentation to follow-up after definitive management
- a time- and resource-limited simulation-based system.
SIMBA rose to meet these challenges on the shoulders of one of the most undervalued resources in healthcare – medical students and junior doctors. I would like to also acknowledge the immense support from our senior colleagues who offered their time and expertise in kind to run the session. To date, SIMBA has delivered 23 world-class, free for the end-user, on the hot-seat simulation-based experiences which have been accessed by over 1,000 healthcare professionals in more than 55 countries. This has translated into significantly improved clinical confidence among participants in every session and proves that if junior doctors put their mind to it, they can achieve anything.
Do not underestimate the value of your work, for most of you are your worst critics. Irrespective of the size, reach or impact of your work, put it out there and who knows, you may be one of the next Turner-Warwick lecturers.
These medical students and junior doctors have further raised SIMBA to new heights by adapting the system to cater to some niche needs. Two examples of this are: ‘SIMBA for students’, an adaptation of SIMBA where medical students learn in an interactive peer-to-peer teaching environment benefiting both the teacher and learner by applying their theoretical knowledge into practical problem-solving exercises. The second example is ‘SIMBA on demand’. This bypasses one of the limitations of the current SIMBA model where interested participants, who were not available on the day, can still get the full experience at their time of convenience. While we had plans to roll this out eventually, the Turner-Warwick lecture scheme expedited this process by opening many new doors and moving progress faster.
So, for those trainee doctors out there who doubt if their hard work will receive acknowledgement or whether their success will be adequately recognised, I am a living example to show that the RCP does this through the Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme. Do not underestimate the value of your work, for most of you are your worst critics. Irrespective of the size, reach or impact of your work, put it out there and who knows, you may be one of the next Turner-Warwick lecturers.
Being an immigrant and coming from a small town in India, my award goes a step further. Other doctors from similar backgrounds now have the hope that they too can receive recognition. And for me, that is the true meaning of an award – it should inspire the next generation to aspire to such laurels.
Named after the RCP’s first female president, Dame Margaret Turner-Warwick, this award breaks the shackles of tradition in many ways, celebrating the life and achievements of a woman in the so-called man’s world. I have seen a diverse range of trainee doctors – spanning across sex, region, religion, ethnicity, specialty – being celebrated for their achievements through this award. Being an immigrant and coming from a small town in India, my award goes a step further. Other doctors from similar backgrounds now have the hope that they too can receive recognition. And for me, that is the true meaning of an award – it should inspire the next generation to aspire to such laurels.
Get involved with the Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme for trainees
The 2021 Turner-Warwick lecturer scheme is still open for abstract submissions from trainees in the following regions and nations: London, Northern Ireland, Northern, North Western, Wessex, West Midlands and Wales. Details on how to apply, and the deadline for your local area, can be found on the dedicated Turner-Warwick lectures web page. Enquiries can be emailed to UKregions@rcp.ac.uk.
Details of the 2020 Turner-Warwick lecturers and their winning projects, can be found in our 2020 Turner-Warwick yearbook available for download below.