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BMJ Paediatr Open. 2017 Sep 4;1(1):e000101. doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2017-000101. eCollection 2017.

How can general paediatric training be optimised in highly specialised tertiary settings? Twelve tips from an interview-based study of trainees.

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Department Postgraduate Medical Education, Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Trust, London, UK.
Department of General Paediatrics, Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Trust, London, UK.



Both general and subspecialty paediatric trainees undertake attachments in highly specialised tertiary hospitals. Trainee feedback suggests that mismatches in expectations between trainees and supervisors and a perceived lack of educational opportunities may lead to trainee dissatisfaction in such settings. With the 'Shape of Training' review (reshaping postgraduate training in the UK to focus on more general themes), this issue is likely to become more apparent. We wished to explore the factors that contribute to a positive educational environment and training experience and identify how this may be improved in highly specialised settings.


General paediatric trainees working at all levels in subspecialty teams at a tertiary hospital were recruited (n=12). Semistructured interviews were undertaken to explore the strengths and weaknesses of training in such a setting and how this could be optimised. Appreciative inquiry methodology was used to identify areas of perceived best practice and consider how these could be promoted and disseminated.


Twelve best practice themes were identified: (1) managing expectations by acknowledging the challenges; (2) educational contracting to identify learning needs and opportunities; (3) creative educational supervision; (4) centralised teaching events; (5) signposting learning opportunities; (6) curriculum-mapped pan-hospital teaching programmes; (7) local faculty groups with trainee representation; (8) interprofessional learning; (9) pastoral support systems; (10) crossover weeks to increase clinical exposure; (11) adequate clinical supervision; and (12) rota design to include teaching and clinic time.


Tertiary settings have strengths, as well as challenges, for general paediatric training. Twelve trainee-generated tips have been identified to capitalise on the educational potential within these settings. Trainee feedback is essential to diagnose and improve educational environments and appreciative inquiry is a useful tool for this purpose.


health services research; medical education; multidisciplinary team-care; paediatric practice; qualitative research

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