Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) Blog

Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) Blog

Academic Clinical Fellows joint meeting – Exeter and Bristol

Posted by jchoules

28 October 2016

There are four GP Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) based at the University of Exeter. We are all GP trainees who have the exciting opportunity of extending our training by a year to integrate academic experience and prepare us for a career in academic primary care.

Two of us joined Professors Willie Hamilton and Jose Valderas in Bristol recently for a joint ACF meeting led by the inspirational Debbie Sharp, Professor of Primary Health Care at the University of Bristol. There were about twenty attendees evenly split between ACFs and senior academic GPs and we were able to learn from each other’s experiences (some of us had a lot more to learn than others!).

After everybody had introduced themselves we spent time discussing the ways to get the most out of an academic programme and how we might navigate our future careers. It was stimulating to learn the breadth of research being undertaken and how these interests had developed.

A key message was that this is a tough road (despite what our peers and clinical trainers might think about academia!) with a lot expected of us beyond clinical excellence. The opportunity to network with other ACFs and see the supportive systems in place in the South West was therefore very valuable.

In particular, at the end of the meeting we were introduced to the concept of mentorship. Each of us was paired with a senior academic we did not know and discussed a current problem that we found troublesome, swapping roles after five minutes. This was a novel experience for me and I can certainly see how helpful a mentor who is outside of your direct supervisory team could be in providing advice and support in an academic career.

Once we had finished our meeting we headed for a curry and the chance to enjoy chatting more with our new acquaintances over delicious food before racing across the city to catch a late train back to Exeter.

Overall this was a fantastic opportunity that helped us to feel part of a broader network of academic primary care in the South West and showed us a glimpse of the exciting possibilities for our future careers. Thanks to our hosts in Bristol for setting it up and we look forward to the return match next year.

Dr Sarah Moore
ST3 GP Trainee and Academic Clinical Fellow


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