I am a neonatal paediatrician at a local neonatal unit. I also have additional roles as Training Programme Director for the Peninsula Deanery and Simulation Lead for our hospital. This means I am responsible for and oversee the training requirements of senior paediatric trainees as well as having a responsibility for ensuring that simulation training occurs within the trust, to a high standard and is effective at improving patient safety.
My working day is split between commitments to the neonatal unit/ neonatal follow up clinics/ general paediatric outpatient clinics and simulation training. When I am on neonatal service week, most days start with junior Doctor teaching which is mainly paediatric focused. We have Wednesday afternoons set aside for neonatal teaching and have a varied programme that includes simulation training, journal club, practical procedures, and case presentations.
After the morning teaching we review all patients in ITU and HDU and ensure that we have optimal patient care for all babies. We encourage parents to stay for the ward round as they are the most important people caring for their baby.
We try to have a coffee break after the ward round as this brings the team together for a social catch up but also we discuss further jobs that are required to be completed.
At any stage within the day, if a baby is admitted it is attended to immediately. This can range from “all hands on deck” for the sickest babies or maybe that one of the junior doctors breaks off from the round to review a baby.
After coffee we complete any jobs or practical procedures that are required. I take the approach that we work as a team so the most junior of the team shouldn’t be left with all the jobs.
My afternoon is often spent with discharge planning meetings or teaching medical students. If it is quiet, I take it as an opportunity to catch up on various admin that I have to complete.
I am on call 1:6 nights which means that I can be called anytime until 9am the following morning. This might sound onerous but the reality is that if I do get called in it is usually for a sick baby that I get huge reward from treating.
A little about why you got into your profession:
As I was training I found that I enjoyed most aspects of medicine. I decided early on that I wanted to be a hospital doctor as opposed to a GP as I valued the team working that I witnessed. Paediatrics appealed as kids are great to be around. As I was introduced to the world of neonatology I met one of our registrars who had had a daughter born at 25 weeks who was now 5 and had very little evidence of prematurity other than a couple of dots on her hands from the cannulas she had required. This really inspired me and I haven’t looked back since.
What do you love about your job:
I love the adrenaline part of the job when things get really busy on a neonatal unit but the most rewarding part is when I see the children in clinic with parents looking prouder and prouder each time I see them.