Engaging and supporting trainees for examinations

Dr Sunitha Vimalesvaran tells us about her role as the Trainee Representative for Examinations, the issues that lie ahead and what she hopes to achieve supporting fellow trainees.
Dr Sunitha Vimalesvaran

I’m an ST6 in paediatric hepatology and have recently been appointed as the Trainee Representative for Examinations. I’m extremely proud to be part of the Examinations Executive and Trainees Oversight Committee, and I hope to be the voice of trainees during my tenure. Throughout my paediatric training, I have continuously sought to develop my teaching and assessment skills through teaching fellowships in the UK and Singapore, writing RCPCH examination resources and supporting trainees on a regular basis in preparation for their examinations.

As assessments drive learning, the content and process of examinations is central to the training and professional development of tomorrow’s paediatricians. It is crucial that our exams are rigorous and evidence-based to ensure that we as trainees are directed towards achieving the required competencies. 

It is an honour to now be part of this great community that I know I can draw support from.

I have seen first-hand the impact of my predecessors in this role and am constantly in awe of the voluntary work trainees do to help each other in making a lasting impact in their training. I feel privileged to have this opportunity: to use my skills and knowledge to contribute to trainees across diverse backgrounds and stages of training. The Trainees' Committee is filled with inspirational colleagues from across the UK, providing representation on various issues including recruitment, training and assessments. They come with the brightest ideas and are incredibly passionate about the work they do. It is an honour to now be part of this great community that I know I can draw support from. 

My role as Trainee Rep for Examinations will entail relaying trainees’ perspectives on issues pertaining to exams at executive meetings, attending examination board meetings, imparting relevant information to be disseminated through the Trainees Committee and contributing to exam material including guidance, documents and publications useful for trainees.

The pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented disruption to paediatric training and assessments in the UK and beyond. The College has been evidently receptive to feedback and open to suggestions for change with delivering the MRCPCH COVID Adapted Clinical Examination. Innovative and responsive changes are continually necessary in paediatric teaching and assessment, and we have seen nimble changes by the College accordingly. As Exams Rep, I hope to continue to advocate for trainees across the board as we adapt to our “new normal”.

Together we will continue to build a better training and examination platform for all paediatricians!

I am keen to ensure that trainees have access to the right information and advice necessary to succeed at training and their professional examinations. Feel free to contact me if you have any queries, suggestions or anything you would like me to discuss at the upcoming committee meetings. [Sunitha's and other representatives' email addresses are listed on our Trainees Committee page.] Share your voice, thoughts and skills – together we will continue to build a better training and examination platform for all paediatricians!

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