Post-graduate exams in anaesthesia can be very challenging.
Achieving the primary and final fellowship FRCA are pinnacle points for anesthetists in training and ensure progression through the training programme to completion of training.
The School of Anaesthesia facilitate an excellent teaching programme for primary and final FRCA. Exam success rate is comparable to UK national average.
The teaching is coordinated by post-fellowship trainees ST5 to ST7 as NIMDTA SUCCEED teaching fellows.
What is the SUCCEED Fellowship?
Through competitive application, the SUCCEED fellows are a group of motivated trainees with a special interest in providing educational opportunities throughout the year with the sole aim of ensuring trainees success in their exams. Having recently gone through this process themselves, the teaching fellows are able to share their own insights, knowledge and experience of the examination process.
Fellows are tasked with providing teaching for both the primary and final FRCA. This teaching is usually provided face to face but due to the covid pandemic, there has been a move to provide teaching via online platforms and hybrid teaching. This ensures greater access to teaching for all.
The fellows schedule topics that are mapped to the exam curriculum as well as specialist interest topics in clinical anaesthesia. These are delivered by consultant and senior trainees. The aim of the sessions are to be as interactive as possible to reinforce learning.
There are 6 SUCCEED teaching posts available each year though competitive application to School of Anaesthesia. Two posts are for primary FRCA teaching , two for Final FRCA and Two posts work with QUB to help deliver teaching for 4th year medical students in anaestheisa , life support and simulation.
Succeed Teaching fellows can have 3 months of this year approved for specialist interest area for education.
Regional teaching is provided by each anaesthetic department in each trust in Northern Ireland. A programme of dates and topics are organised, and attendance is booked online through NIMDTA website.
Each anaesthetic department within Northern Ireland will have differing specialist areas, sets of skills and service to therefore deliver specific education:
Teaching provided has been highly rated by trainees and give an invaluable opportunity to ask questions and gain insights from the experts that may not be readily available in a textbook.
The Succeed Fellows draw on this, liaising with consultant colleagues in each trust to organise presentations and practical days aimed towards the primary and final FRCA curriculum.
In addition to preparation for written examination, SUCCEED fellows set up mock OSCE and Viva /SOE components for primary and final FRCA.
These days involve succeed fellows creating examination stations and gathering consultant and senior registrars as volunteer examiners. Trainees then run through each station exactly as they would on the day of their OSCE or viva. This provides an opportunity for trainees to experience what it would be like on the day of their exam and helps them desensitise to the process.
A rewarding experience
The Succeed fellowship year can be a rewarding experience as fellows get to guide trainees towards the path of success. The role itself can be largely logistical in nature as it involves co-ordination of multiple consultant colleagues in addition to the booking of rooms and set up of IT facilities. This can be challenging in practice but early organization is key.
The SUCCEED teaching fellow also receives funding for the Certificate in Medical Education through Queens University Belfast. This provides a significant opportunity for professional development and is either fully funded by NIMDTA, for Postgraduate fellows, or by QUB for Undergraduate fellows.
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