The PG Cert – a hidden gem
Anish Gurung [pictured below], Advance Medical Training Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) participant, tells us why he believes the training is a hidden gem for doctors and qualifying science faculty students.
Why did you choose the PG Cert?
I chose the PG Cert because it is aimed at doctors and other science-faculty students who want to advance their careers by improving their research and evidence-based evaluation skills in clinical practice and leadership. I believe this course will serve as a useful steppingstone into the next point of my career.
This course can also help doctors who find themselves working in a new culture, language, or are new to the United Kingdom. I also think the course is manageable for those like me who have family responsibilities and commitments outside work.
How is the course organised and delivered?
The PG Cert is split into three modules totaling 60 credits. There are two compulsory modules you take in research skills and clinical leadership, totaling 30 credits. The third module required is worth 30 credits, in any of the following eight specialties of your choice:
- addiction studies;
- affective disorders;
- children’s health;
- clinical neuroscience;
- development psychology and psychopathology;
- women and children's health.
It is useful to note that one credit usually equals ten hours of work.
The two compulsory modules research skills and clinical leadership are delivered entirely online. Participants are also be expected to conduct their own research as a part of completing the course.
I chose to study women and children's health which provided me with a unique perspective on the topic. Prof Rachel Tribe, Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Science, King’s College London and Dr Kim Jonas, lecturer in women's health, King’s College London, and many others, taught individual subjects, such as, placental and Fetal physiology and preconception health, and I learned a lot from them.
Even though we had to complete the majority of the course online due to COVID-19, King's College London’s cutting-edge technology made us feel like we were in a classroom when we were actually in the comfort of our own homes.
What are the key benefits of the PG Cert for you?
For me, there are a number of benefits of studying the PG Cert:
- Participants can choose from eight different specialties, as mentioned above, and work alongside Master’s students enrolled in these fields.
- The programme offers a variety of start dates, including January and September; it can be completed full-time in one year or part-time in two years, and half of the modules (in research skills and clinical leadership) can be completed fully online.
- King's College London Business School, a leading management teaching institution in London, and its NHS Partner Trusts offer the clinical leadership module.
- The teaching, which is led by internationally renowned scholars and physicians, addresses current concerns, and focuses on transforming findings into better health results both locally and globally.
- Participants have access to the most cutting-edge technology housed in the King's Health Partners’ NHS hospitals.
- Participants interested in a career in clinical trials, research, or leadership will benefit from the course.
How has the PG Cert helped your career path and what are your plans next?
The PG Cert has helped my career path by stimulating my intellectual skills by:
- Critically analysing and evaluating scientific literature in women and children’s health.
- Writing original pieces that clarify, study, and analyse primary research literature, as well as using assessments to generate academic ideas and hypotheses.
- Understanding research governance and demonstrating adherence to research regulations.
- Understanding and applying statistical analysis and research design concepts in scientific and clinical studies.
- Recognising and appreciating the need for ethical principles and professional codes of ethics in research investigations.
- Contributing to the synthesis and design of possible theories and experiments, it helped me think critically about my own work/research.
- Using subject knowledge and understanding to investigate and solve problems that are both common and unfamiliar.
- Using a critical understanding of the relevant contexts to collect, interpret, and analyse data.
- Understanding and improving clinical leadership skills by cultivating self-knowledge: awareness of one's own beliefs, ideals, and assumptions, as well as the ability to learn from experiences.
Looking back, this course has provided me with a great deal of knowledge. It has helped me understand various forms of medical and scientific journals, of which I had no prior knowledge.
I also had not previously realised what you are required to look for, with a microscopic view, while reading articles, journals and papers, and the importance of analysis, evaluation and comprehension. After reading several related review papers and critically writing about them, I learned how to write a critical essay on a medical specialty subject. I also learnt to come prepared with many ideas to course sessions and to be able to explore the subject in depth with the help of a tutor.
I had never given a journal club presentation on original research topic before. This experience helped me improve my communication, presentation, confidence, and even my understanding of how to use online technologies.
In particular, the clinical leadership module was an eye-opener. While we have medical and technological skills, we sometimes struggle in this area because we do not know how to act and conduct ourselves professionally and take the shared responsibility of leadership.
Furthermore, these are required techniques, characters, and are also part of the mandatory curriculum for doctors. International medical graduates will benefit from this course to gain a better understanding of the NHS, in a way that they will not have learnt from their medical books.
My plan is to work as a junior doctor in the United Kingdom. This course will also open up possibilities for a future in clinical trials, science, or leadership.
What would you say to someone interested in taking the course?
I would strongly advise doctors and other qualifying science faculty students to take this course if they want to pursue further studies in clinical trials, research, or leadership. In three words, this course is "short and sweet", both financially and in terms of flexibility, (it is extremely compatible for people with family commitments, for example).
Acknowledgements: Prof. R. Tribe, Dr K. Jonas, Dr A. Markiv, Dr A. Budjanovcanin, P. Lia, Dr. L. Story, J. Nash, Dr. P. Washer, Prof. A. Greenough, Emily, I. Al-Sharabi, Anya, Zhuldyz, Colleagues and several other teachers who taught us on different subjects during the face-to-face module.
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