ACF in Paediatric Surgery
Dr David Fawkner-Corbett (2016)
Pathway to an ACF position
David developed an interest in paediatric surgery and research whilst completing his medical degree at the University of Liverpool. Undertaking an intercalated MPhil at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital he began to develop an understanding of basic science techniques and their translation into patient care. This led to a paediatric surgery Academic Foundation Year in Liverpool where David was able to experience the clinical care of paediatric surgical patients and continue to develop academic skills by working with a laboratory group researching potential stem cell therapies in Hirschprung’s disease. These experiences attracted him to the ACF programme allowing him to continue clinical academic training.
What does the work involve?
David is now in the second year of his ACF and has taken 6 months out of clinical practice to focus on a laboratory research project. This will aim to look at the immune cells of diabetic children and compare them to paediatric surgical patients. In the previous 18 months he has taken either one or two days a week from a full on-call rota for research. In the first year this worked well for planning his study, learning laboratory techniques and preparing ethical approval whilst developing his basic surgical skills and completing his Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) exams. David has also completed the first three modules of the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research which was offered as part of the ACF and gives a good overview of research methodology. Working within the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences has also allowed David regular opportunities to teach medical students.
David was drawn to the ACF in paediatric surgery as it provided an opportunity to combine his interest in scientific research while undertaking training as a paediatric surgeon. The Deanery had supported a number of academic surgical trainees through core training, both in paediatric surgery and other specialities, which appealed to him. Another reason for choosing Oxford was the opportunity to work within the University of Oxford, with its historic profile and track record of being a leading centre for the translation of scientific discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.
David has very much enjoyed the experience of the ACF so far, having had time to undertake laboratory research whilst also progressing in surgical training. He hopes that the post will provide a solid basis to eventually continue developing an academic paediatric surgical career in the future. The experience to date has helped to confirm this as his aim.