How has training been impacted by COVID-19? - A trainee's perspective

Dr Gen Southgate has noticed a significant impact on training and education, with a shift towards digital engagement and even an upturn in organisation of training events. Now, along with colleagues, she wants to find out how this varies from region to region and has designed a survey to investigate.

I’m Gen, a paediatric trainee in Wessex. In March, I began seeing COVID-19 cases reported across the country, and rumours - spreading like coxsackie in a nursery - began talking of ‘back-up’ plans for clinical emergencies, inducing fear greater than that induced by the word 'clinicals'.

Prior to this, my greatest worry for work had been my pending step up to the registrar rota. I was now faced with not only this hurdle, but during the pandemic. What could possibly go wrong? (I’m sure I could become a postwoman if all went awry - and it would really improve my daily step count). Of course, the main priority was to ensure the safe provision of healthcare to the children of the region, but as I received hourly emails informing me of cancelled courses, exams and teaching, I felt that my training and education had left me like the tags on Kaizen when it switched to Progress curriculum.

My favourite pastime, except watching The Great British Bake Off, is moaning about my life - I mean, reflecting with other trainees over tea. I noticed that even within my own training grade, the COVID-19 pandemic was having very different effects on experience, varying from redeployment to the Emergency Department to very minor rota changes. Although formalised face-to-face teaching and education sessions were dissolved to facilitate social distancing, some trainees, consultants and educators began organising previously underused resources, such as the now famous-for-showing-everyone’s-homelife-in far-too-much-graphic-detail ‘Zoom’ platform. I even organised some virtual teaching myself both in my trust and for my training grade around the region (hashtag eportfolio win). 

But….how much variation is there nationally then? I asked myself whilst crying over the GP trainee taking the last chocolate Hobnob. Noone at handover knew anything about it, so I thought I’d ask my fellow trainees.

From some initial musings noted down during reruns of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I joined with three other trainees, working in the Wessex, Severn and West Midlands deaneries, to develop a national survey. We are now asking for the help of paediatric trainees across the UK to tell us about the impact that COVID-19 has had on education and training, and be able to share resources & ideas for learning in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. Good or bad? Hard to say.

If you are a paediatric trainee in the UK, at any stage of training, we would be really grateful if you could take the time to complete our survey. Answers will be collected anonymously and with no way for us to know the identity of those completing it. Please allow 10-20 minutes to complete the survey, and complete in one sitting as progress cannot be saved. The survey works on mobile devices, laptops and computers. You could even use your answers to help bolster the reflections part of your portfolio as ARCPs loom!

We hope you feel able to answer honestly and in detail, our aim is to learn collectively from our experiences and examples of best practice across the country. Sharing is caring!

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact us via the email


Plus back-up singers: Matt, Shouja & Maddy

Take the survey