Recent changes in the training structure for junior doctors, coupled with a reduction in the duration of training, mean that doctors must choose their ‘lifetime’ career within 1-2 years of leaving medical school. To decide on a speciality at such an early stage can clearly be an arduous task since exposure to the competitive surgical and medical specialities during medical school is limited. This has resulted in junior doctors (Foundation Years) reaching the ‘cross roads’ of choosing a career without a clear understanding of the merits and demerits, pressures and challenges, and long-term prospects of the various specialities.
This can be overcome if medical students decide on a speciality whilst at university and channel their efforts towards developing a sound understanding during hospital placements and diligently constructing a tailored portfolio. In addition, such students will clearly hold an advantage during the job application process and, later, in interviews. Tailoring the portfolio will involve choosing appropriate clinical placements and electives, undertaking clinical audits and/or basic science research, presentations and publications, and demonstrating a clear and purposeful interest in that speciality.
During the Summer School, Consultants, Registrars and junior doctors from each speciality will provide students with essential knowledge and information about that speciality. They will also offer students advice, guidance, and opportunities to develop their portfolio.
In addition to learning, students will also be given the chance to interact with their peers from other medical schools in the UK and beyond during the various social activities and programmes which will be arranged for the long summer evenings.