Recent Submissions

  • Effectiveness of a web-based virtual journal club to promote medical education (Web-Ed): protocol of a multicentre pragmatic randomised trial

    Murugesu, Nilaani (2022-06-16)
    Introduction A journal club (JC) is a commonly used medical educational tool. Videoconferencing technology can facilitate the delivery of JCs, however, there remains no evidence on the role of web-based virtual JCs in promoting the acquisition and retention of medical knowledge. The Web-Ed trial aims to evaluate the educational benefits, feasibility and acceptability of web-based virtual JCs compared with traditional face-to-face ones. Methods and analysis Web-Ed is a multicentre pragmatic parallel-group randomised trial across teaching hospitals within the UK National Health Service (NHS). We will enrol qualified doctors or medical students who are >18 years old, proficient in English and able to use online videoconferencing software. Block randomisation will be used to allocate participants in 1:1 ratio to either intervention group. Both groups will be presented with the same educational material and follow a standardised JC structure hosted by nominated moderators and medical faculty members. The primary outcome is the difference in participants’ knowledge acquisition and retention 7 days after the JCs evaluated using standardised multiple-choice questions. We will report secondarily on the feasibility and acceptability of the JCs using Likert scale questionnaires. Assuming a 30% drop-out rate, we aim to enrol 75 participants to detect a 20% improvement in knowledge acquisition at 80% power and 5% significance. We will report using mean difference or risk ratio with 95% CIs and assess significance using parametric/non-parametric testing. Where relevant, we will adjust for predetermined characteristics (age, grade of training and session duration) using multivariate regression analyses. Ethics and dissemination Web-Ed was designed by doctors in training to address their learning needs and evaluate the preferred mode of learning. The trial results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at relevant scientific conferences. The trial has been approved by the NHS Health Regulation Authority (21/HRA/3361).
  • Live streaming to sustain clinical learning

    Grafton-Clarke, Ciaran; Uraiby, Hussain; Abraham, Shalin; Kirtley, Joanne; Xu, Gang; McCarthy, Mark
    Background The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the need to develop teaching innovations that provide safe, authentic clinical encounters which facilitate experiential learning. In tandem with the dissemination of teleconsultation and online teaching, this pilot study describes, evaluates and justifies a multi-camera live-streaming teaching session to medical students from the clinical environment. Approach Multiple audio and video inputs capturing an outpatient clinic setting were routed through Open Broadcast Software (OBS) to create a customised feed streamed to remote learners through a videoconferencing platform. Sessions were conducted between September 2020 and March 2021. Twelve students sequentially interacted with a patient who held an iPad. Higher quality Go-Pro cameras captured the scene, allowing students to view the consultation from the patient and doctor's perspective. A consultant then conducted a ‘gold standard’ patient consultation observed by students. A faculty member remotely facilitated the session, providing pre-clinic teaching and debriefing. The equipment required with costing for a standard and low-cost version is described, as well as a set-up schematic and overview of ideal conditions and barriers encountered during trials. Evaluation All students completed a post-participation questionnaire, rating the overall quality of the sessions as 9.7/10. The quality of online facilitation, utility of observing peers' and consultant interaction with the patient, opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and availability of multiple camera angles were particularly valued by students. Implications This innovation permits an authentic clinical interaction to be experienced by multiple students remotely, promoting equitable access to high-quality teaching, while maintaining the safety of students and patients.
  • Paediatric and adult congenital cardiology education and training in Europe

    Bu'Lock, Frances (2022)
    Background: Limited data exist on training of European paediatric and adult congenital cardiologists. Methods: A structured and approved questionnaire was circulated to national delegates of Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology in 33 European countries. Results: Delegates from 30 countries (91%) responded. Paediatric cardiology was not recognised as a distinct speciality by the respective ministry of Health in seven countries (23%). Twenty countries (67%) have formally accredited paediatric cardiology training programmes, seven (23%) have substantial informal (not accredited or certified) training, and three (10%) have very limited or no programme. Twenty-two countries have a curriculum. Twelve countries have a national training director. There was one paediatric cardiology centre per 2.66 million population (range 0.87-9.64 million), one cardiac surgical centre per 4.73 million population (range 1.63-10.72 million), and one training centre per 4.29 million population (range 1.63-10.72 million population). The median number of paediatric cardiology fellows per training programme was 4 (range 1-17), and duration of training was 3 years (range 2-5 years). An exit examination in paediatric cardiology was conducted in 16 countries (53%) and certification provided by 20 countries (67%). Paediatric cardiologist number is affected by gross domestic product (R2 = 0.41). Conclusion: Training varies markedly across European countries. Although formal fellowship programmes exist in many countries, several countries have informal training or no training. Only a minority of countries provide both exit examination and certification. Harmonisation of training and standardisation of exit examination and certification could reduce variation in training thereby promoting high-quality care by European congenital cardiologists.
  • A case series review of patients with Thrombocytopenia and Absent-Radii syndrome (TARS) and their management during pregnancy

    Halperin, Daniel; Myers, Bethan (2021)
    Bleeding diatheses due to platelet-related disorders can present challenges to treating clinicians, especially in the context of peri- and post-partum patients in the obstetric setting. Thrombocytopenia and Absent-Radii syndrome (TARS) is an inherited disorder characterized by reduced bone marrow platelet production, skeletal deformities affecting radii and other limbs; cardiac, renal, and other heterogeneous anomalies may occur. It is caused by the co-inheritance of a microdeletion and a nucleotide polymorphism in the RBM8A gene on chromosome 1. Bleeding phenotype is more severe than platelet numbers which might predict especially in infants but improves with age. There is minimal literature regarding the impact of pregnancy and puerperium. We describe the management of three pregnancies in the hematology-obstetrics clinic. As platelet counts normally decrease through pregnancy, close monitoring is required in TARS. No major bleeding was seen antenatally but two required platelet transfusions during labor. No other treatment definitely improves bleeding, although case reports of steroids claim variable success. Tranexamic acid may be helpful, and thrombopoietin agonists represent a potential future option.
  • Demographics, distribution and experiences of UK clinical academic trainees using GMC NTS Survey data

    Graham-Brown, Matthew; Carr, Sue (2022)
    Involvement in research plays an integral role in the delivery of high-quality patient care, benefitting doctors, patients and employers. It is important that access to clinical academic training opportunities are inclusive and equitable. To better understand the academic trainee population, distribution of academic posts and their reported experience of clinical training, we analysed 53 477 anonymous responses from General Medical Council databases and the 2019 National Training Survey. Academic trainees are more likely to be men, and the gender divide begins prior to graduation. There are very low numbers of international medical graduates and less than full-time academic trainees. A small number of UK universities produce a greater prevalence of doctors successfully appointed to academic posts; subsequent academic training also clusters around these institutions. At more senior levels, academic trainees are significantly more likely to be of white ethnicity, although among UK graduates, no ethnicity differences were seen. Foundation academic trainees report a poorer experience of some aspects of their clinical training placements, with high workloads reported by all academic trainees. Our work highlights important disparities in the demographics of the UK clinical academic trainee population and raises concerns that certain groups of doctors face barriers accessing and progressing in UK academic training pathways.
  • Impact of changing medical workforce demographics in renal medicine over 7 years: Analysis of GMC national trainee survey data

    Graham-Brown, Matthew; Carr, Sue (2021)
    Increasing numbers of doctors in training are taking career breaks, with burnout cited as a potential cause. This study analysed General Medical Council (GMC) national training survey data (renal medicine) to understand the impacts of changing workforce demographics on trainee outcomes and wellbeing. Increasing proportions of female, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), and international medical graduates are entering the workforce. Specialty exam pass rates have fallen and are lower for BAME and international medical graduates in renal medicine. Time to complete higher specialty training has increased for female trainees. Self-reported burnout rates for renal trainees were higher than other medical specialties and highest for male BAME trainees. Burnout was only partially mitigated by less-than-full-time working, but had no impact on progression, sick-leave or time out of training. It is important to recognise changes to the workforce and proactively plan to effectively support a more diverse group of trainees, to enable them to succeed and reduce differential attainment.
  • Medical education and training within congenital cardiology: current global status and future directions in a post COVID-19 world

    Bu'Lock, Frances (2022)
    Despite enormous strides in our field with respect to patient care, there has been surprisingly limited dialogue on how to train and educate the next generation of congenital cardiologists. This paper reviews the current status of training and evolving developments in medical education pertinent to congenital cardiology. The adoption of competency-based medical education has been lauded as a robust framework for contemporary medical education over the last two decades. However, inconsistencies in frameworks across different jurisdictions remain, and bridging gaps between competency frameworks and clinical practice has proved challenging. Entrustable professional activities have been proposed as a solution, but integration of such activities into busy clinical cardiology practices will present its own challenges. Consequently, this pivot towards a more structured approach to medical education necessitates the widespread availability of appropriately trained medical educationalists, a development that will better inform curriculum development, instructional design, and assessment. Differentiation between superficial and deep learning, the vital role of rich formative feedback and coaching, should guide our trainees to become self-regulated learners, capable of critical reasoning yet retaining an awareness of uncertainty and ambiguity. Furthermore, disruptive innovations such as "technology enhanced learning" may be leveraged to improve education, especially for trainees from low- and middle-income countries. Each of these initiatives will require resources, widespread advocacy and raised awareness, and publication of supporting data, and so it is especially gratifying that Cardiology in the Young has fostered a progressive approach, agreeing to publish one or two articles in each journal issue in this domain.
  • Distributed autonomous organization of learning: future structure for health professions education institutions

    Roland, Damian (JMIR Publications, 2022-01-04)
    Current health professions education (HPE) institutions are based on an assembly-line hierarchical structure. The last decade has witnessed the advent of sophisticated networks allowing the exchange of information and educational assets. Blockchain provides an ideal data management framework that can support high-order applications such as learning systems and credentialing in an open and a distributed fashion. These system management characteristics enable the creation of a distributed autonomous organization of learning (DAOL). This new type of organization allows for the creation of decentralized adaptive competency curricula, simplification of credentialing and certification, leveling of information asymmetry among educational market stakeholders, assuring alignment with societal priorities, and supporting equity and transparency.
  • Endoscopic surgical simulation using low-fidelity and virtual reality transurethral resection simulators in urology simulation boot camp course: trainees feedback assessment study

    Berridge, Christopher; Kailavasan, Mithun (2021-08)
    Objectives: The objective of our study was to study trainees' feedback and rating of models for training transurethral resection of bladder lesions (TURBT) and prostate (TURP) during simulation. Methods: The study was performed during the ''Transurethral resection (TUR) module" at the boot camp held in 2019. Prior to the course, all trainees were required to evaluate their experience in performing TURBT and TURP procedures. Trainees simulated resection on two different models; low-fidelity tissue model (Samed, GmBH, Dresden, Germany) and virtual reality simulator (TURPMentor, 3D Systems, Littleton, US). Following the completion of the module, trainees completed a questionnaire using a 5-point Likert scale to evaluate their assessment of the models for surgical training. Results: In total, 174 simulation assessments were performed by 56 trainees (Samed Bladder-40, Prostate-45, TURPMentor Bladder-51, Prostate-37). All trainees reported that they had performed < 50 TUR procedures. The Samed model median scores were for appearance (4/5), texture (5/5), feel (5/5) and conductibility (5/5). The TURPMentor median score was for appearance (4/5), texture and feel (4/5) and conductibility (4/5). The most common criticism of the Samed model was that it failed to mimic bleeding. In contrast, trainees felt that the TURPMentor haptic feedback was inadequate to allow for close resection and did not calibrate movements accurately. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that both forms of simulators (low-fidelity and virtual reality) were rated highly by urology trainees and improve their confidence in performing transurethral resection and in fact complement each other in providing lower tract endoscopic resection simulation.
  • Exploring junior doctor morale in a UK hospital

    Singh, Raunak; Kirtley, Joanne; Minhas, Jatinder S; Lakhani, Dilesh; Carr, Sue (2019-12)
    Background: The importance of junior doctor morale is increasingly being recognised. We aimed to identify and explore the factors affecting junior doctor morale in a UK teaching hospital. Methods: We carried out an online survey asking junior doctors to rate their morale, rank the top five factors that positively affected morale and offer free-text comments. Results: Nine hundred and forty three junior doctors were approached, 402 (42.6%) responded. Overall morale was rated 6 [interquartile range (IQR): 5-8], and how valued 6 (IQR: 4-8), supported 7 (IQR: 6-9) and autonomous 7 (IQR: 6-8) they felt [median ratings using a scale of 0 (low)-10 (high)]. When comparing the four domains of feeling supported, feeling valued, having autonomy and overall morale, respondents felt most supported overall (n = 402, χ2 = 85.6, p < 0.0001). Key themes were identified: team working and relationships, feedback, training and education, resources, wellbeing and pastoral support, staffing and workload, senior clinician support, and autonomy. The most common factors positively affecting morale were 'feeling part of a team' (66.4%) and 'being recognised for good practice' (56.7%). Conclusion: We identified a number of diverse themes affecting junior doctor morale. Doctors felt more supported than valued or autonomous, with complex relationships between these domains.