Taster webinars engage endocrinologists of the future
LOUISE HUNTER | Society News
'Very practical and helpful tips! Also very well adapted to virtual space.' Endocrinology webinar delegate
Making positive plans has been a welcome distraction from the anxiety and uncertainty of 2020. One of the Early Career Steering Group activities in recent months has been planning the Taster Webinars. These are a COVID-safe substitute for the annual Taster Days run jointly by the Society for Endocrinology, the Young Diabetologists and Endocrinologists Forum (YDEF) and the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists since 2017.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TASTER DAYS
As a predominantly outpatient clinical specialty, we can find it hard to share the richness of our field with medical students and junior trainees. Unless they can find time to join us in clinic, doctors undertaking foundation or internal medicine training could be forgiven for thinking that endocrinology and diabetes consists of inpatient general medicine, requesting urine and serum osmolalities, and advising on variable-rate insulin infusions.
The Taster Days were started to try and dispel these myths, whilst also providing inspiration and information for those trainees who were perhaps already curious.
A NEW LOOK EVENT
We knew that the necessity of moving the event online would lead to new challenges and new opportunities. We couldn’t offer the same networking time and patient interaction provided by the in-person events, but we could reach a much larger audience, and engage speakers from a wider geographical area. We opted for two short, evening webinars, with talks combining career advice and practical tips relevant to junior trainees.
It was with some trepidation that we waited to see how many people would log on to our first, endocrinology-themed webinar in mid-October.
Wonderfully, over 140 joined us to listen to Helen Simpson (London), Claire Higham (Manchester) and Carla Moran (Dublin) talk about their career paths and why they love their jobs. Shazia Hussain (Clinical Committee trainee representative) did a fantastic job of hosting the session and chairing the subsequent Q&A discussion.
Just 2 days later, the diabetes and metabolism-themed event was a similar success. It featured Tahseen Chowdhury (London), Amy Shlomowitz (London) and Abd Tahrani (Birmingham), and was hosted and chaired by YDEF committee member Tim Robbins.
TAKING AN OVERVIEW
The common themes that emerged from independently prepared talks were a reminder of why our specialty is so enjoyable to those who practise it. Solving problems with the application of physiology, providing truly person-centred care, and the excitement provided by new technology and research were clearly evident. I like to think that our speakers conveyed this enjoyment to the attendees. At the time of writing, we’re in the process of collating delegate feedback, and also taking the opportunity to send out useful links. The webinars were recorded, and will be made available for online viewing.
It’s imperative that we attract and retain enthusiastic, motivated trainees, to ensure the future health of our specialty. Now is a tough time to be a clinician, especially one in the early stages of training, who has had to experience things that none of us were prepared for. Having caring, interested, inspirational colleagues can be very valuable support.
We’re keen to hear from readers who might either have ideas for future events, or have good practice points to share; for example, how do you ensure junior colleagues can join you in clinic? Contact us at email@example.com.
We thank all our speakers who gave up their evenings, everyone who publicised the events, and the Society for Endocrinology team, especially Heather Lampard, our brilliant Careers and Engagement Officer.
Chair, Early Career Steering Group
NIHR Clinical Lecturer, University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust