Interested in paediatrics? Guidance for foundation doctors

Paediatrics is an exciting and varied specialty - every day is different. Here's how you can find out more during your foundation training.
Last modified
28 September 2018

What can you do to get paediatric experience?

First, you can try to get a paediatric post during your foundation training.

Can't get a paediatric rotation? Don't worry! Many candidates who apply to paediatric specialty training haven't had one. (Just 2.6% of FY1 and 6% of FY2 placements are in paediatrics - Foundation for Excellence: An evaluation of the Foundation Programme, October 2010, Professor John Collins.) This won't count against you - but do try to gain experience that can help with your application.

Some ideas:

  • Use your experience working with children in other specialties, such as general practice, emergency medicine and paediatric surgery. You'll learn valuable transferable skills.
  • Try to get on a taster week in paediatrics through your foundation school. You'll experience the working day of a paediatrician.
  • Volunteer with children and young people's clubs, such as those helping people with with disabilities or learning difficulties. You'll develop your communication skills and rapport with children.
  • Ask a paediatrician to be your mentor. Paediatricians are friendly and approachable and will be happy to answer your questions about the specialty. You may be able to shadow them at work, or get involved in a project, such as a clinical audit or research. To find a mentor, speak with the College Tutor at your local hospital's paediatric department.
  • Incorporate a paediatric aspect into your post. For example, if you're working in emergency medicine, you could do an audit on children's care.
  • Apply for one of our Foundation Doctor awards. Prize winners get a free day at the RCPCH Conference.
  • Or, simply register for RCPCH Conference - we have reduced rates for foundation doctors. You'll attend informative lecturers from prestigious speakers and network with paediatricians.
  • Find paediatric courses - such as in life support or safeguarding. They're an insight into the specialty, and great for your application..

Applying to specialty training

You normally apply in November/December of your FY2. Successful candidates start paediatric training after you have completed FY2, usually from August/September the following year.

Make sure your portfolio is up to date.

Find out more about applying to specialty training

Taking time out between Foundation and specialty training

Some doctors take 12 months between completing foundation training and entering their chosen specialty training. Often, this involves working internationally.

If you decide to do this, it will not impact your application. In fact, the unique experiences and skills can be helpful for your application.

Do keep in mind the Specialty Training 1 (ST1) essential requirements. For example, you must not have more than 18 months paediatric experience, excluding foundation training.

Academic training

Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACF) in paediatrics are available across the UK.

These are three-year posts, and equivalent to level 1 paediatrics. Trainees spend 75% of their time doing clinical work and 25% of time doing research or educational training.

The normal end point of ACF training is a higher degree, such as a PhD. Academic trainees can then continue in academic training or choose to complete clinical training in paediatrics.

Recruitment to ACF positions is via the National Institute for Health Research. The RCPCH is not directly involved with the recruitment to these posts.

Find out more about academic training

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