Dr Steven Alderson
aCADEMIC FOUNDATION PROGRAMME (2013)
PATHWAY TO AN AFP POSITION
I studied for a BA in English prior to completing a graduate-entry medical degree, and had little formal experience of research prior to commencing Oxford’s AFP. Nevertheless, as a medical student, I tried to involve myself in academic medicine as much as possible, and completed a number of projects around my medical degree. These demonstrated to me the value of academic medicine, and I was keen to complete an AFP to learn more.
WHAT DOES THE WORK INVOLVE?
My AFP at Oxford has entailed 6 four-month rotations over 2 years, including valuable (and intense!) experience of acute medicine, acute surgery, and anaesthetics/intensive care medicine. In my Foundation Year 1 (FY1), I was able to take weekly day-release to develop my academic interests; I developed this further in FY2 with a dedicated four-month academic rotation. I have therefore been able to attend a number of formal teaching courses, seminars covering management and leadership in medicine, and national and international meetings.
For me, the great strength of the Oxford AFP is the freedom it gives academic foundation doctors to identify and develop their own academic interests – rather than fitting in around someone else’s. This has allowed me to develop my own projects and interests, and has helped me develop significantly as an academic doctor. Another important strength of the Oxford programme is the emphasis placed on the development of clinical skills. I’ve been able to complete some very challenging and interesting clinical rotations which are particularly relevant to my interest in acute care. I feel I’ve developed significantly as a clinician at Oxford too!
The Oxford AFP has strongly developed my interests in quality and safety improvement, medical education, and acute care. After completing my AFP, I am undertaking a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellowship to Health Education England, and hoping to develop my knowledge and skills in these areas further.