Talking about the pandemic’s impact on training and the general workforce

Dr Hannah Jacob, Chair of the Trainees Committee offers advice, tips and tools to help address some of the current worries voiced by members during these trying times.

I’ve been handed over the reins of Russell’s update this week and thought I would use this cameo as a chance to address some of the issues and worries filling my inbox at the moment.

Like many of you, I am writing this feeling physically and emotional shattered, working on a rota that now includes shifts looking after adults. For others, the last few weeks have meant redeployment completely away from paediatrics and indeed for those still working in child health this means trying to cover empty rotas, often including acting down. I think we are all wondering how much longer we can go on like this. I would urge anyone, regardless of how junior or senior you might be, to reach out to colleagues when you are struggling. Undoubtedly this is a time to be kind to ourselves as well as others.  I have not yet realised my dreams of learning the saxophone or having some Arabic lessons but am aiming for at least one chapter of my book a day. There are lots of fantastic resources on the College website  and organisations such as Frontline-19 are offering free psychological support to frontline staff.

There is understandable anxiety about the impact of the pandemic on training, progression and the paediatric workforce more broadly.

There is understandable anxiety about the impact of the pandemic on training, progression and the paediatric workforce more broadly. David Evans, Vice President for Training & Assessment has written some guidance on redeployment. There is also ARCP guidance about training requirements for this year which continue to be a slimmed down version of the normal requirements. Meanwhile, all our membership exams continue virtually. Again, talk to your Educational Supervisor, Training Programme Director or College Tutor if you have particular concerns about your training or progression. For those of you in these roles, thank you for all the care and attention you are giving your junior colleagues despite all the pressure you are under yourselves.

Amidst everything else that is going on and with most children and young people not at school, I was proud that our College joined the voices of Marcus Rashford and Jack Monroe to call on Government to ensure those on free school meals get adequate food or vouchers. The Government have since announced that the national voucher scheme will be rolled out again from next week. The Media and Campaigns team will keep a close eye on this situation over the coming weeks as we all continue to advocate for children and young peoples’ health and wellbeing during the pandemic. There are lots of &Us resources  to share with families (and use yourself if relevant) for home schooling.

Elections are now open for the next Chair of the RCPCH Trainee Committee and it is fantastic to see six brilliant candidates on the ballot paper – exercise your democratic right if you are eligible to vote. Meanwhile, I hope the consultants among you will consider rising to Russell’s challenge last week to run for Vice President for Training & Assessment or Education & Professional Development.  He threw down the mantle asking for people who aren’t bald and white so please consider putting yourself forward. Camilla has written a fantastic blog reflecting on her time as VP.

Look after yourselves and each other


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