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Making it work in practice

Hello. My name is Stephanie Brown and I am a Junior Doctor currently working in oncology with an ambition to become an oncologist in the future. Balancing service provision and my learning needs can be tricky in a busy clinical job but I’ll try and show you, by giving examples, how I try and get the best of both. Junior Doctors need to be able to perform several types of clinical procedures competently. Our acute oncology service is run daily by Senior Doctors where procedures such as pleural taps are frequently performed.
When there were was some spare time on the ward, I would take the opportunity to pop by and see if there were any procedures I could help with, knowing that these are being done on medically stable patients with Senior Doctors supervising me. I find attending lunchtime multidisciplinary team meetings a useful way to spend time at work, learning more about oncology. You get an opportunity to hear patients histories and clinical opinions of different specialties and professions surrounding the workup for a diagnosis, and how management will proceed from there. Within certain specialties there are extra areas beyond service provision in the department that you may wish to see.
In oncology there is a specialised form of radiotherapy called brachytherapy, which I was interested to learn more about. However, it occurs infrequently and typically takes place in the mornings when we have our ward MDT, but by liaison with my colleagues to ensure they could cover me and were happy for me to be absent for an hour, I was able to see a different side of oncology, away from the wards. I have found it useful to involve myself in departmental teaching. This is an opportunity to pick a subject that you are interested in finding out more about and then presenting this subject to your colleagues.
Not only is it good presentation practice in a friendly environment, it also enables you to remember and understand particular topics better because teaching reinforces my own learning. When there is an interesting case on the ward for which the patient needs radiotherapy, I would see the patient with the consultants, watch the consent process and then go with the consultant to observe the planning of the radiotherapy. I also use this as an opportunity to discuss the case further and ask any questions I have. And furthermore, this could then be an opportunity to complete a workplace based assessment.

In this video Dr Brown describes how she balances her service commitments and maximises learning opportunities in her workplace.

How do you facilitate this in your workplace? Have you identified any opportunities and barriers to doing this? Please share your views with us.

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Clinical Supervision: Teaching and Facilitating Learning

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