Paediatric training at ST1 - here's all you need to know

Congratulations on gaining a place on the paediatric training scheme! This page covers all the tools and tips you need to know to kickstart your paediatric journey from Specialty Training 1 (ST1). It includes a handy checklist for the first month of your new job.
Last modified
22 August 2023

There's so much here that I wish I'd have known as an ST1 and so I was really excited to work on this project for the next generation of trainees.

Dr Emma Dyer, Chair of the Trainees Committee and trainee paediatrician

Emma Dyer

Getting started

After being offered a place in paediatric training, your deanery will contact you to do all your pre-employment checks. These include DBS, occupation health and ID checks.

It can take time to gather all the necessary information, so it may be worth starting to collect this when you are offered your place, and before the deanery contacts you. If you are relocating for your training, information on expenses can be found via the Gold Guide. You may find it helpful to read the trainee charter, which outlines what trainees expect from training units in the UK. Talk to your supervisor about this during your first meeting.

Also before you start your placement, use this time to become an RCPCH Member (if you have not done so already) and set up your RCPCH ePortfolio to ensure you can log on and everything works as this is where you will record your training -  more detail below.

Download the ST1 Trainees checklist

Loved being involved in this project to help the next generation of paediatricians to start training confidently and set themselves up with enough preparation for success!

Dr Blanche Lumb, Trainee Representative for Recruitment and trainee paediatrician

ST1, ARCP, PDP... all those acronyms!

Yes, there are a lot of acronyms and other jargon. Some may already be familiar, and you'll soon learn how to speak in Paediatrics! In the meantime, we hope our jargon buster can help.

Download the ST1 Trainees jargon buster

Becoming an RCPCH member (with training)

Becoming a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is an important part of your paediatric training journey. All paediatricians undergoing run-through training must apply for RCPCH membership and training. 

Once you become a member with training, you'll have access to RCPCH ePortfolio, our online tool that records your progression through specialty training.

We ensure that your training is under regular review, monitor the outcomes of your Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) and support you when required.  You can find more information about your ARCP,  trainee fees, RCPCH ePortfolio in our Training guide.

Apply for Junior membership with RCPCH

How can you succeed with ePortfolio?

As with any training programme, it is mandatory to have a record of your learning and a platform by which you can demonstrate that you are meeting the competencies outlined in your training curriculum. In paediatrics, we use an ePortfolio (on the risr/advance platform, though you might hear it being called Kaizen). You'll have access to this once you have signed up to the RCPCH membership. 

Broadly speaking, ePortfolio is where you document all of the evidence that you are meeting the Key Capabilities outlined in the Progress+ curriculum. It can be a bit tricky to navigate and get your head around when you first open it, but there is lots of really great guidance for doctors using ePortfolio. We've also got ePortfolio guidance for supervisors. It can be helpful to ask a more senior trainee or your supervisor to run through it with you. 

Whilst ePortfolio can be used to record assessments such as case-based discussions (CBDs), it can be used to record so much more than this. You can record your reflections, procedures, skills that you are learning via your skills log, teaching attended, research, teaching that you deliver, clinics that you attend…basically everything! The important bit is reflecting on your learning from whatever you are recording and tagging this evidence to your curriculum key capabilities.  

You may not have the time or an available computer to record things on your ePortfolio when they happen, so some trainees find it helpful to keep a little list or note on their phone so that they can then sit down and put everything onto their ePortfolio when they have time or set themselves a fortnightly deadline. It is also important to try and record things regularly as you go along so that you don’t leave it all to the week before your ARCP which can get stressful!  

Generally speaking, your RCPCH ePortfolio is about quality not quantity, so for many of the assessments and reflections etc, the RCPCH does not set a minimum amount. However, there are a few assessments for each training grade and level that you need to make sure you do a certain number of, so be sure to check out our assessment guide

If there are any problems with your ePortfolio or you have any questions, you can always get in touch with the very helpful Training Services team at

See our ePortfolio guidance for doctors

I found it helpful to keep a small notebook where I could keep notes during teaching, jot down things that came up when seeing patients or points to read through, ideas for supervised learning events.

Dr Lia Davies, Trainee Network regional representative for KSS and trainee paediatrician

Don't have neonatal care experience yet? It's okay!

Don’t worry - you aren’t in competition with each other, nor are you expected to have any neonatal experience before starting ST1! 

Dr Felicity Beal, trainee paediatrician

Most people starting paediatrics may have not had any prior experience in neonates, so do not worry. Whilst many people feel apprehensive about their first neonatal job, we want to reassure you that neonates is not a job to be afraid of but something to look forward to with the opportunity to do new-born baby checks, attend deliveries as well as to carry out lots of varied procedural skills! 

We wanted to help answer any questions that you may have before starting your placement and dispel some myths surrounding the neonatal unit. We have provided you with a list of jargon busters for you so you get to be familiar with some of the terminology/acronyms that you may hear on the neonatal unit or whilst you are in your new role.

Just a reminder that you are not expected to have any neonatal experience beforehand! You will always have a contactable senior available if you ever feel out of your depth and a fantastic multi-disciplinary team including neonatal intensive care nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, midwives doctors in training and consultants are here to support you. 


First and foremost all of your ST1 colleagues are in the same boat as you and this is an excellent opportunity to you will be fully supported undertaking new skills. Let your supervisor and team know about any procedures that you would like to complete on the placement.

It is a good idea to have a look at the mandatory DOPS (direct observed procedural skills) on your ARCP checklist for level 1 and use this as a guide. Everyone will complete these at a different rate so don’t worry if some people complete their skills log before you. Generally you will be assigned certain days in intensive care (ITU) and this will be a good chance to perform these skills, so let your team know at the start of your ITU week. Even on the post-natal ward there is the opportunity to develop cannulation and heel prick skills. 

Deliveries of babies

Look out for a neonatal life support (NLS) course prior to undertaking your neonatal placement if possible, this is an ePortfolio requirement and will help you when attending deliveries. (NLS courses often get booked up quickly so look out for these early!) We would advise you to let your registrars know when you are attending your first few deliveries, as you may wish for them to be present as you build your confidence with the low risk births. Your senior colleagues will come with you to any high risk deliveries and you can always put out a crash call if you feel out of your depth at any point. 

NIPE (Newborn and Infant Physical Examination)

The NIPE is a head to toe examination that is undertaken for every baby when they are born and is carried out again at 6-8 weeks of age to highlight any congenital abnormalities. We have highlighted some useful resources for learning about how this is performed below.

The NIPE is documented in the 'Red Book' also knowns as the Personal Child Health Record which is to all new parents and is a means to communicate with health care professionals and families about the child’s birth history, immunisations, growth and midwife checks. This is a great experience to get familiar with seeing common new-born concerns, a common presentation to the paediatric assessment unit! 

Your wellbeing - remember, it's so important

  • You are not in competition. Rather you are on the same boat as your fellow ST1 colleagues. Take the time out to shadow each other and share knowledge.
  • Tell people you are new. They will appreciate it and know how to treat you accordingly.
  • Take the time to ask questions. You are in your first year and here to learn – make the most of it.
  • Speak to your colleagues, registrars, and consultants for any advice as they have been through everything you are going through and come out the other side. They are a wealth of knowledge and normally very familiar with the ePortfolio. 
  • Form a channel (for example, on WhatsApp) where you can share your questions with your colleagues and what you have learnt.
  • Try to reflect on the positives at the end of each day/week .You will come far quickly.
  • Remember to take your lunch break and leave on time - unless there is an emergency.
  • Try to take your breaks off the ward so you are not tempted to work and give yourself a chance to properly relax.  
  • Try to take team lunches. Taking the time to sit down with colleagues during your break can help build good rapport.
  • Book annual leave early. Having things to look forward to is especially useful.   
  • If you are struggling with workload? Escalate early if possible.  
  • Ask all members of your multidisciplinary team for help. Nurses are a great resource. Secretaries are a fountain of knowledge and normally know contacts of other hospitals.

See members' blogs and resources on wellbeing 

Useful resources

We've compiled some resources we hope are helpful. External links do not imply RCPCH endorsement.

Listen to podcasts by doctors like you

DragonBytes podcasts are on a variety of paediatric topics from clinical scenarios to exams to careers advise. Created and run by Welsh trainees. You can also request topics you might want in the future.

Don't Forget the Bubbles has a wealth of videos which you can watch/listen to in your spare time. They also have many articles and courses too!

RCPCH Podcasts: Shining a light on children's mental health - five child health professionals talk about how they are are tackling the issue through advocacy and innovation, starting with insights from a medical student.

RCPCH Podcasts: Changing landscape of a career in paediatrics - Dr Jonathan Darling, RCPCH Vice President of Education and Training, shares his thoughts on the changes in paediatric training including the eLearning platform and updates to our ePortfolio.

RCPCH Podcasts: How to build a paediatrician - Dr Emma Dyer and Dr Cathryn Chadwick, Vice-president of Training and Assessment talk about the insights about what the College does to train and support members.

Get your clinical skills up to date

Geeky Medics has some useful ‘how to’ guides which can jog your memory from your medical school days, especially when tired on a night shift or if it's something you don’t do that often. 

Resuscitation Council UK has a whole load of information around resusciation for healthcare professionals these range from basic life support for adults and paediatrics to ethics around it to post-resuscitation care.

HeadSmart provides information and guidences around tumours in children and young people (up to the age of 18).

Find out all you need to know around Ear, Nose and Throat on this website. Aimed for Junior Doctors but this is useful if you need to jog your memory.

ERIC - Education And Resources For Improving Childhood Continence is a national charity dedicated to improving children’s bowel and bladder health.

Learn about how to start a good paediatric improvement project

Your supervisor will talk to you about starting quality or safety improvement projects which is an essential part of your Progress + training. Build your confidence and knowledge in these topics so you can hit the ground running by visiting the following:

QI Central: A resource and sharing hub where you can see examples of high-quality QI work and guidance on how to do QI well.

Patient Safety Portal: Our one-stop shop for all things related to paediatric patient safety. Explore patient safety theory, share ideas for safety improvement and access summaries of the latest alerts and reports. Use what you learn to help drive improvements in paediatric patient safety.

Our journals, including a focus on education and practice

The subscription to Archives of Disease in Childhood journals are included with your RCPCH membership. The Education and Practice journal is particularly useful for trainees and has lots of useful articles. 

About our journals