Background Time out of clinical practise is common in postgraduate paediatric training. Our Deanery can expect around 60 paediatric trainees to be on maternity leave at any time; the majority of whom choose to take the full year available to them.
There is limited evidence to describe how and when doctors’ competence is lost during a period of absence from work, although a key factor appears to be how well the skills and knowledge were learned and practised before the career break. There is wide variability internationally and across speciality in the degree of support offered to doctors returning from a career break, and those schemes that do exist focus on doctors who have been absent from work for over two years
Aim We developed, delivered and evaluated a one day return to clinical practise course for doctors in paediatric training.
Methods We invited all paediatric trainees who were on maternity leave to attend a free one-day return to clinical training course.
We developed a course to include recent updates in Paediatrics, low-fidelity simulation and discussion regarding anxieties around returning to work and strategies to maximise learning and training opportunities.
The course was facilitated by senior trainees who had recently returned to training from maternity leave as well as senior paediatricians who have successfully combined career and family life.
Results The course was attended by 22 trainees all of whom completed an evaluation.
The aspects of the course that trainees found most useful were networking, hot topics in paediatrics and simulation training. Many trainees felt that attending the course had helped them create an ongoing informal support network that would last beyond the single day of the course.
Conclusion Increasing numbers of junior doctors are taking time out of their training for maternity leave. No targeted educational support currently exists for this group.
We have demonstrated that a return to clinical practise course specifically targeting trainees on maternity leave was popular with participants all of whom stated that they had improved confidence and enthusiasm for returning to work.