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ACF in Emergency Medicine

Dr Justine Loh

Pathway to an ACF position

During the final year of medical school, I chose to do a small elective project where I was first exposed to data collection and analysis. I then developed an interest in this and audited a primary care practice, which yielded interesting outcomes and, when I began my Foundation Year training, I audited the secondary care practice and made a comparison between the two findings. This was accepted for an abstract publication, and an oral and poster presentation internationally. I was then awarded an opportunity to do a review which was published in a peer-reviewed journal. I was later involved in quality-improvement projects where I introduced standards of care. The outcome from these experiences drew my interest in research as I wanted to learn and be exposed to the making of these guidelines and standards. I enjoyed the creativity involved and was curious about the process.

What does the work involve?

An ACF in Emergency Medicine is very exciting and interesting but it can be challenging. Emergency Medicine is a very fast-paced specialty with multiple endless skills and knowledge needing to be acquired, especially during the junior years of training. 

Balancing a full-time work shift, getting all the clinical competencies to progress clinically, and organising time for projects can be tricky since emergency medicine is one of the most hectic medical specialties.

The ACF program gave me protected time off to learn and do research in any areas and in any form without clinical training hours being affected. The difficulty is the short amount of time given to find a research project, organise it, actually do it and then complete reports and submit endless documents – although this depends on how complex or simple the project is. 

Most of my general research training was undertaken outside of research time. However, the ACF training funds the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research, which is a bonus and an additional qualification. These courses are provided to aid the projects undertaken.


Oxford has a world-wide renowned research history and funding. Also, from a clinical point of view, it is a well-confined deanery that enables me to live in a place which is within reachable distance of other hospitals in the region.  

August 2014