It almost goes without saying that the events of the past year have had a significant impact on training. The impact of the pandemic will have varied depending on person, time and place, but despite the challenges faced, I know that trainees and trainers have worked hard to adapt to a shifting landscape.
... it is a crowded field of excellence in paediatrics
The Paediatric Awards For Training Achievements (PAFTAs) seek to highlight the very best of paediatric training - although I know from hearing about all the regional PAFTAs that it is a crowded field of excellence in paediatrics, judging by the huge numbers of trainees, trainers and colleagues nominated across the four nations.
There are three national awards made each year that draw their nominees from the winners in each region: Junior Trainee of the Year, Senior Trainee of the Year and Educational Supervisor of the Year. Judges from across the RCPCH, including a children and young people’s panel from RCPCH &Us have the tough, but hugely enjoyable task of deciding the winners in each category.
This year the award for Junior Trainee of the Year goes to Dr Elke Reunis, a ST3 Paediatric Trainee working in the West Midlands. There were three key ingredients to Elke’s nomination: her clinical excellence, an infectious enthusiasm for teaching and being a dedicated trainee representative. Amongst the numerous reasons for her nomination, what stood out was the thread of caring for others, that care taking the form of high levels of support for work colleagues, helping to improve regional teaching for the benefit of her peers and as a representative helping bring together trainees during the pandemic and give them a voice.
This year the standard for Senior Trainee of the Year was so exceptionally high that a joint award has been made.
Our first winner for Senior Trainee of the Year is Dr Jeanne Uhiriwe, a ST5 Paediatric Trainee currently based at the North Middlesex University Hospital. Jeanne was nominated for a number of reasons, including turning every moment into a teaching opportunity, for both junior colleagues and medical students alike. She has also been instrumental to supporting vaccination efforts for preterm babies. Alongside these achievements Jeanne was also nominated for her compassionate approach to families and their children, as well as being a constant morale booster in her team.
Our next winner of the Senior Trainee of the Year is Dr Alexandra Nettleton, a Community Child Health trainee in Severn. Alexandra was nominated for the way she builds strong therapeutic relationships with the children and families she cares for. She has also been involved in a number of innovative projects, including setting up specialised clinics and looking into the impact of COVID-19 on families and how services should be shaped post-COVID. Alexandra was also highlighted for the way she has adapted her teaching of medical students, developing online courses to ensure teaching continues despite the COVID restrictions.
The PAFTAs not only recognise trainees, but also recognise trainers too.
This year’s winner of Educational Supervisor of the Year is Dr Orode Mode, Paediatric Consultant at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital. Orode was nominated for revolutionising teaching at her hospital, making the case to obtain simulation mannequins and then implementing regular simulation teaching for the team. COVID-19 did not prevent learning, with Orode setting up virtual case-discussions and highlighting to trainees what opportunities for learning were available. The pastoral support Orode provides was also highlighted as hugely important in terms of supporting wellbeing, with Orode helping trainees at difficult times or with making career plans. She also set up a buddy system to ensure everyone had local support as many trainees were far away from their usual support networks.
I shall finish with a challenge to you all, to make even more nominations in your regional PAFTAs this year and a very hearty congratulation to all of this year’s PAFTA winners!