Reflections on how an SPCR internship was used to create a workshop for medical students.
At the start of Lockdown One in England March 2020, the NIHR School for Primary Care Research had circulated it's annual call for student internships. As Community Sub-Dean, at the University of Nottingham, I offered to support this process. We had three excellent applicants who each chose different projects to reflect their interests. One looked at excess mortality in a large practice in Solihull. Another, a literature review on the non-covid impact of lockdown, attempting to predict and address mitigation options for children. The third project was by Chloe Smith, then a graduate, but without opportunity to work as an intern Foundation Doctor. Chloe "felt abandoned" and so I encouraged her to explore the concerns of students, not just from Nottingham, but across the UK. Chloe wrote this up as a report as well as presenting at some of the first virtual conferences.
As part of the NIHR internship Chloe was eligible for funding to attend conferences but there were none to attend.... so we decided to run our own conference and make Chloe the Keynote Speaker! This time her title being "Surviving F1: It’s going to be ok".
Chloe was keen that we "connect back" to the current final year medical students at Nottingham, now graduands, and discovered that they were receiving a five week online preparatory course.
To enable the workshop to be a success we set up a collaboration between Vale of Trent RCGP Faculty and their Education Lead, Dr Zarina Beg, the Derbyshire Task Force led by Dr Susie Bayley and Director of Careers at University of Nottingham, Dr Gail Allsopp. This is the first time this collaboration has worked together on a medical student workshop.
For the workshop on 12th May for half the year group (repeated again on the 16th June for the other half of the year group) we invited student graduands to submit a single PowerPoint slide , to then be spoken to for 5 mins, entitled "How has the Pandemic affected me, my training and my outlook?"
We had four excellent presentation submissions on 12th May, each receiving a certificate and small prize, judged by an independent panel of Judges, Dr David Poll (RCGP), Dr Anjla Sharman (HEE) and Dr Helen Cartwright (AIT Trainee ST3). We have seven submissions for 16th June, again with a panel of Judges.
So, what started as one medical student graduate "feeling abandoned" became a robust project that offered impact and purpose to both the intern, Chloe, and to myself as supervisor. We surprised ourselves what could be achieved digitally and although we had completed the internship on time and with good results, vowed to keep in contact as "medical colleagues." So, when Chloe was reconnected and the thought of organising our own conference was muted; it perhaps highlighted the power of a "student/graduate" voice that their suggestion could be translated into a robust conference/workshop formally offered to 400 Nottingham Medical Students as a half day part of their online preparation in Spring 2021.
We are currently all in debate as to the "next steps" as we have been "blown away" by the quality of the current student/graduand presentations.
Thank you to NIHR School of Primary Care for creating the Internship possibility in Spring 2020 and specific thanks to Georgina Fletcher, Assistant Director, to guiding us and supporting me along this journey.