This month, our guest blogger, Dr Justyna Witczak, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology, and the Wales representative on the RCP New Consultants Committee, discusses her career in academic medicine and research.
There are lots of opportunities for trainees and consultants in Wales to develop their skills in academic medicine and research. This includes various grants and schemes supported by the RCP itself, like the RCP–Rosetrees Trust Joint Fellowship, the Whitney-Wood scholarship, RCP-CRN (Clinical Research Network) awards and last but not least, Wales’ very own Lewis Thomas Gibbon Jenkins Fellowship, which I was privileged to be awarded. It enabled me to take fully funded time out of training for research to complete my MD when I was a registrar.
For those planning to be principal investigators (PI) in future, there is an Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research. This is another great opportunity to build up your experience in understanding research delivery processes and developing research skills.
I would recommend taking time out of training, as it gives you a different perspective on your work and your career options (apart from the obvious benefit of enhancing one’s CV). The experience gained and the networks developed with other academically minded colleagues can lead to interesting and stimulating collaboration opportunities when choosing a consultant post. In my case, it allowed me to incorporate research sessions into my job plan, which means that I am involved in various commercial and non-commercial research trials for patients with endocrine conditions and diabetes mellitus.
This helps me to be up to date with all the new developments in my field and, more importantly, it gives me the chance to offer novel treatments through clinical trials to patients in Wales. It also breaks the routine of the standard working week and I am always looking forward to my research day, especially because I have some fantastic and motivated colleagues to work on those projects with.
If you would like to write a guest blog for our Wales bulletin, please contact Wales@rcp.ac.uk.