Thinking about becoming
Here in the UK the road to becoming a paediatric trainee is a long one, taking approximately 8 years to obtain your CCT (Certification of Completion of Training), in addition to the first two years you would have already done straight after medical school. It is one of the longest training programs out there but here at BTTB HQ, we think it’s well worth it! We are obviously biased but honestly it’s a fab career, full of opportunities and variety. We all come from very different walks of life and are following very different paths on our journey to paediatric consultantdom but this is one thing we all agree on… Here’s why we think you should consider paediatrics:
1) Children are brutally honest! You always know where you stand….
2) The variety within paediatrics is wide. Very wide. There’s genetics which includes screening for disease and illness even before your patients are born; neonates – managing tiny, frail babies at the cusp of viability to ginormous post term babes- all needing our help. Then
there’s general paediatrics – covers anything and everything; no day is the same (although during RSV season this may seem like the case). The sub-speciality pathways range from the acute such as emergency medicine and intensive care to the more ambulatory such as community or rheumatology, to the more academic specialties such as infectious disease & immunology, respiratory, and public health….. Adolescents are a particular tricky bunch but the banter’s brilliant! There is something for everyone I promise you.
3) There is plenty of scope for research and gaining experience in global child health – both these areas are expanding. So, if you’re a keen traveller or interested in the world and how it works, this may be the job for you.
4) Working in the NHS is sometimes tough but even at 3am on the busiest most demoralising night shift, one of the little monsters will do something that makes you laugh and remind you why we do what we do!
5) It’s a very logical specialty. Our barn door response is not to do bloods and a chest X-ray on everybody who comes from a door. Needles can be distressing and radiation is dangerous. Why do something if it’s not going to change what you do?
6) The nurses are amazing. They might give you a hard time but they’ve always got the child’s interests at heart. They know when somethings not right and their instincts are usually bang on.
7) Children are resilient and most bounce back from being extremely sick to running around tearing up the ward in a very short space of time. It’s an instantly rewarding speciality
8) If you enjoy practical procedures, paediatrics certainly provides a challenge. Bloods, cannulas, lumbar punctures, chest drains…Everything’s in minature!
9) Life is unpredictable and anything can happen in those 8 years, in fact most of us (7 out of 8!) at BTTB HQ have somehow extended our CCT well past it’s original use by date through working abroad, research and career breaks. It’s a flexible, family friendly speciality and you can make it work for you.
10) At the risk of sounding like a bad song, Children are our future! You’re literally making a difference to the future of mankind.
Want more info on what paediatric training is all about? Check out our friend Lisa’s journey from ST1 to Consultant: she’s been there, done it all and survived – all in 8 short years!