Reflecting on three years of leadership at the London School of Paediatrics
Keywords:leadership, goodbye, london school of paediatrics
It is with a mixture of pride, gratitude, and a touch of nostalgia that we write this letter, marking the end of our term as Chairs of the London School of Paediatrics’ Trainees Committee. Over the past years (three for Nisha!), it has been an incredible honour to serve in a leadership role that aims to shape the future of paediatric training in our vibrant and diverse city. The journey has been nothing short of inspiring, particularly the fortune of working alongside dedicated trainees, invaluable consultants, and varied organisations.
The Trainees' Committee of the London School of Paediatrics is a dynamic collective driven by a shared commitment to elevate paediatric training, and guided by our mission statement: "to ensure paediatric training in London is the best it can possibly be". Since its inception, the Committee has charted a purposeful course through a variety of initiatives. At the core of our group’s success is our collaborative ethos, uniting paediatric trainees and Training Programme Directors, fostering an environment rich in shared knowledge and new ideas. This spirit of collaboration extends beyond our committee, reaching into partnerships with key NHS training bodies, notably Health Education England (now NHSE), aligning our efforts with the broader paediatric training landscape.
As chairs, we've had the privilege of being at the forefront of paediatric training, shaping its direction and impact. At the heart of our efforts lies the recognition that trainees are the bedrock of paediatric care. Therefore, we’ve worked relentlessly to ensure that the trainees' voices are heard, represented, and acted upon. This commitment extends not only to the growth and well-being of trainees but also to the promotion of innovation and the development of leadership skills.
We've overseen member engagement, enforced a well-defined constitution and ensured the financial security of our future endeavours. As a member of the HEE Quality & Commissioning Review Panels, we've reviewed training centres in difficulty and enforced HEE quality standards, ensuring our trainees are always safeguarded. Finally, the annual LSP Conferences (2021-2023) have been our flagship events, bringing together trainees, consultants, and patients to exchange knowledge and ignite crucial conversations. From the old LSP headquarters in beautiful Russell Square, to Teams meetings taken on 3G in ward cupboards, our work has spanned the full breadth of the NHS experience.
Our work, however, goes beyond logistics and administrative tasks. It's about fostering a culture of continuous development and collaboration. It's about understanding the evolving needs of our trainees and adapting our strategies accordingly. It's about recognizing that excellence is not an endpoint but a journey, and it requires dedication, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to improvement.
Much of our work has taken place during challenging times for paediatric doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals. Although providing good care in a city with significant inequality is never easy, the COVID-19 pandemic and consistent understaffing and undervaluing of health professionals hasn’t helped. The word ‘resilience’ is undoubtedly overused, but we have been so awed by the hard work, team spirit, and advocacy that our colleagues have shown. We cannot imagine a better group of clinicians to work with, or a stronger team to tackle the challenges facing children in London.
As we step down from this role, we feel a deep sense of gratitude. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve a community that is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of paediatricians, and for the support and camaraderie of fellow committee members who have brought their passion and expertise to the table. We are grateful for our Head of School and training programme directors, who have provided invaluable support and guidance throughout our tenure. And finally, we are grateful for the resilience and determination of our trainees, who inspire us with their commitment to paediatric care. Together, we've worked tirelessly to ensure that paediatric training in London not only meets but exceeds expectations. There would be no hope of reaching this goal without our community.
Of course, our closest working relationship has been with each other. When we started working together, Nisha was an established Chair of the Trainees’ Committee – confident and driven, but in need of a collaborator and sounding board, as well as someone to share her (not insignificant) administrative and meeting workload, and that is where Sarah rose to the challenge! In today’s medical training structure, it’s rare to spend so long working in partnership with one other person. It has been a true joy to discover each other’s perspectives, to encourage our individual strengths, and support each other through difficulty. Although we will take away teamworking skills for life, it’s difficult to imagine such another working relationship that could be so close.
To our successor, we offer our warmest wishes. May your journey be as enriching and fulfilling as ours has been. As the London School of Paediatrics continues to evolve and grow, we are confident that the foundation we have laid together will serve as a strong platform for future advancements in paediatric training.
In closing, we extend our heartfelt thanks to each member of our committee, to the consultants and organisations who have collaborated with us, and to the trainees who are the heart and soul of our mission. The legacy we leave behind is not just in the initiatives we launched or the tasks we completed, but in the positive impact we hope to have had on the lives and careers of our trainees.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Nisha Patel, Sarah Sturrock
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