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Written by Dr Grace Turner, former SPCR doctoral trainee at Birmingham University.

In 2014 I took part in the Canadian TUTOR PHC programme (a one year interdisciplinary, primary care capacity building program). Each year the NIHR SPCR is allocated one place on this programme and I was fortunate to be selected as the 2014-2015 candidate. At the time I was a second year PhD student and suffering from imposter syndrome at the thought of trying to hold my own with the 15 other high achieving international trainees. But the programme was a wonderful experience and the highlight was meeting the other candidates and keeping in touch with them through conferences and Twitter.

Four years later I was asked by one of my fellow TUTOR trainees, Marie-Eve Poitras, to present a session on epidemiology at a Primary Care Summer School she was co-organising at the Université d’Angers, France. It was a wonderful feeling to present as an “expert” (including some of my PhD work) at a primary care course similar to the one we had been students at together. Many of the other experts presenting were also TUTOR PHC alumni from previous years and I felt very grateful to the School for Primary Care Research for being given the opportunity to be part of such a valuable network of international primary care researchers.

The French Primary Care Summer School was international and multi-displinary and aimed at providing participants with opportunities to:

- Develop reflection on the role and the organization of primary care in different countries and the input of research on practice and development of primary care.

- Develop collaborations with the aim of supporting a community of leaders in primary care.

It was a week long course which was jam packed, but each session had an interactive element (small group tasks, round tables, stakeholder panels) to encourage networking and ‘deep learning’. The students were from a range of backgrounds and countries, including France, Spain, Canada, Armenia, Thailand and Jamaica). I was hugely inspired by their energy and motivation; it reminded me of the excitement I had felt during TUTOR PHC and as a SPCR trainee.

I encourage all SPCR trainees to go for any opportunities to develop skills and networks even if it feels like you can’t add anything to your existing workload. Everyone has imposter syndrome but never let it hold you back.

Grace Turner

@gracemturner