So you wan't to be a Community Paediatrician?
Applying for a Community Child Heath (CCH) Grid post can seem daunting initially; it is the first job application most trainees have had to do for at least five years and for many a time to access that file ‘CV’ that is hidden in the computer archives and panic about how out of date it is! Having been through this process, my first piece of advice would be to start preparing for grid as soon as possible and focus your CV to CCH, especially when you get to ST4 level.
A helpful approach can be thinking about the four main components of CCH
This helped me identify what was missing from my CV in order to ensure my time was spent most productively to develop a rounded application. Achieving this is easier than you think; once you start looking you realise just how many opportunities are around you:
Let your colleagues know you are applying for CCH grid putting yourself forward for safeguarding medicals. In my experience my colleagues were very willing to cover my allocated work while I saw the safeguarding cases!
Volunteer to coordinate peer review or chair MDT meetings.
Contact your local public health department and get involved in a project.
Attend as many case conferences, strategy meetings and MDTs as possible.
Attend a CCH national course – the grid application includes listing relevant courses you have attended.
Look on the RCPCH website for trainee representative positions available and apply – this will help in the management section of the application.
Get your audits and projects presented or published – there are 12 spaces for this on the application!
Set-up medical student/foundation/paediatric teaching in your hospital/deanery – with a view to the teaching section of the application form.
Visit local schemes for the socioeconomically deprived families – showing your patient-centred care and enthusiasm for CCH.
Most of the questions on the grid application are very generic and initially it can be perplexing how this is relevant for application for CCH grid. Those very generic questions focus around patient/family centred care, acute management and practical skills as well as those where it feels easier to add a CCH slant including audit, management, research, publications/presentations and teaching experience.
Most importantly for a successful application, don’t undersell yourself! As a group of professionals we tend to underplay our achievements and shy away from boasting, now is the time to shine and remember that the people reading your application have not worked with you and do not realise just how brilliant you are!
Once you have made it through the application process, you will hopefully be offered an interview. Prior to the interview you are requested to submit a presentation which is usually on a fairly generic topic. As this is pre-prepared it is important that your slides are well thought out, succinct but with impact. The interview is made up of two panels: to one panel you present and then questions are asked related to this presentation and the other is a conventional interview style where each member asks a question. The questions are standard interview questions but can also be topical therefore it is important to be aware of the current CCH climate including any changes in practice, recent articles in the news or political discussions relating to paediatrics. Having a practice interview with some experienced consultants and previous grid trainees is invaluable; as with clinical exams, the more practice you do the better prepared you will be for the interview. The questions tend to be open and generic therefore you can to a certain extent prepare your answers.
Finally, after interview, you are given an outcome, hopefully a job offer in your top choice as well as your ranking. Even if you are not successful, having a ranking can be helpful to guide you as to how you are doing against your colleagues throughout the UK and therefore how much work you need to do to succeed in the next year’s applications.
5 Top Tips for a successful CCH application:
Review your CV at least a year prior to application
Identify areas you are lacking in and set out to address this
Get advice from someone who has been through the grid process
Get to know the top CCH societies: BACCH, NSPCC, Barnardos etc
Don’t undersell yourself!