RCPCH careers campaign - FAQs for members

This autumn, we launch our #ChoosePaediatrics campaign across the UK. We're addressing the urgent issues affecting retention in paediatrics as well as recruiting more doctors to train in this specialty.

Introduction

In putting together this campaign, the College has undertaken research with medical students, foundation doctors and paediatricians across all levels collecting their views about the ongoing workforce challenges in paediatrics, and the how we can work with our members to try and resolve them. From this research, it is clear that issues around recruitment and retention should be approached in distinct ways but we also understand that they are still clearly linked. #ChoosePaediatrics is therefore looking to address both areas.

We launch the first part of our campaign on 25 September 2019 by outlining our intention to address issues around retention. We highlight the programmes and resources we already provide to support paediatricians in their working lives; and we're starting a conversation about how, as a specialty, we can work together to try to make things better. You’ll find lots of new content on our website and on social media, including a video from our President and blogs from some of our members, along with links to existing College resources.

We launch the second part of our campaign, about recruitment, on 2 October 2019. Our promotional video will showcase the unique qualities of paediatrics, followed by additional resources aimed at helping our members promote our specialty to tomorrow’s doctors. 

This briefing aims to provide an overview of our campaign and hopefully address some of the questions you might have about it.

Why now for a campaign?

In recent years, it has been proving increasingly challenging to attract new trainees to choose the specialty; we also know that more paediatricians are leaving the profession.

The College’s Executive Committee has therefore decided to make the #ChoosePaediatrics campaign our key strategic priority for the next three years.  

What have we learned about the challenges in paediatrics?

We know that paediatricians do not forget what motivated them to choose a career in the specialty; factors such as the clinical challenge; emotional reward and the opportunity to work with a unique cohort of patients. 

Research that has informed the College’s careers campaign shows that the issues that are catalysing retention challenges are tangible, often practical matters. As noted in a blog by Russell Viner, your President, our research included a survey of 293 members and in response to a question on what they considered the biggest challenges facing paediatrics, 58% of respondents said workforce and rota gaps, 35% said burnout, whilst 34% said work/life balance.

In this research, more than two thirds (69%) of respondents said that they had considered leaving the specialty. Solutions will arise not only through correcting faults but also by amplifying what is good about the specialty. Six in 10 (61%) said that the ‘Potential to make a positive impact’ was one of the top three reasons to remain in paediatrics. 

Through the biennial workforce census, the College has collected data that show how rota gaps and vacancies have detrimentally affected the welfare and wellbeing of members.

What is the College already doing to support members?

  • Connecting you with your peers – our Stepping Up programme, career support service and mentoring support all provide you with ongoing peer support. 
  • Facilitating QI collaboratives – more than 50 NHS teams are already taking part in our improvement collaboratives
  • Lifelong learning – we provide a comprehensive programme of learning and development through our face to face courses and online learning provision
  • Using strong evidence to campaign for more paediatricians - most recently, in 2019, the College used census data to successfully campaign nationally for an increase in paediatric training places in Scotland. Furthermore, we successfully campaigned to get paediatrics included on the Shortage Occupation List
  • Providing practical resources - our resources cover everything from career development and mentoring to health & wellbeing and less than full time training support
  • Equipping you tools to advocate for safe services – reports such as Facing the Future and the Trainee Charter are designed to influence policy and practice in the NHS so that it provides high quality, safe and sustainable healthcare services for all children and that it is a better place to work for our members
  • Local representation – our regional leads, area officers, college tutors and regional trainee reps exist to support you and to champion your views within the College.  If you’re not sure who your regional lead is, find out on our region pages

How will the recruitment video fit into our #ChoosePaediatrics campaign?

Our new recruitment video - which goes live on 2 October - will be just one small part of the campaign; it is designed to directly reach our medical students and foundation doctors.

Over the past two years we have developed a strong relationship with the UK Aspiring Paediatrician Society (UKAPS) and we sponsor their yearly annual conference as well as offering free membership to our medical students and foundation doctors and the awarding of various awards and prizes at the RCPCH Conference. We will continue our existing activity campaigning for more paediatric teaching on undergraduate medical curricula as we look to strengthen our relationship with medical schools and ensuring we provide students with the information they need about paediatrics to inform their choice of specialty.

The initial focus on recruitment is just one feature of the College’s long-term recruitment and retention strategy. 

Is it right to engage new recruits before the fundamental problems that are driving people to leave have been addressed?

The College is acting to increase recruitment into paediatrics now, because there is no sustainable solution to workforce challenges which doesn’t require more people training in paediatrics. 

How can you get involved in the campaign?

We know that one of the most motivating aspects of life as a paediatrician is to sustain the specialty by inspiring the next generation of doctors. We appreciate that can feel like an impossible luxury in the face of other clinical demands, but our evidence suggests that paediatricians who get involved with promoting the specialty, feel more, not less, motivated.

Retention

Recruitment

We'll launch the recruitment campaign on 2 October. Look out for ways to get involved from then!