........................ I have done about 22 months ophth.in a DGH EYE unit, 
I hold part 1, 
done 30 phacos,&number of squints, 
3 audits, 
6 presentations, 
no publications yet!(no Department support) 
Due to sit part 2 in 2 months time 
Naturally no shortlisting whatsoever! 
Seeking your kind advice ? 

Should i go for a MSc full time course for a year hoping i would get a teaching post afterwards and finish the membership exam(part 3)?? 

OR continue dragging on in my current post knowing that my chances are pretty slim?? 

- August 7, 2004 at 15:24:17 by Worried!!

Dear Worried 

I don't think you need be so worried. Your cv sounds very impressive so far. You have alot more than alot of people I know that have been shortlisted for that coveted teaching hosp job. 

First of all, do not fret. Competition for teaching posts is so fierce that alot do want their SHOs to have acquired or be close to acquiring their Part 2, so maybe once you have got that, you will find your luck will change. 

Regarding publications - even SpRs can find it difficult to get a paper published. I don't think anyone realistically expects an SHO at a DGH to have a paper published. But you should be able to get a poster or 2 accepted, and this may be all you need so that they can tick the publications box, when shortlisting you. Ask your consultants for some ideas for a poster. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, or complicated. Have a look through the last College coference poster abstracts to get an idea of the kind of things that have been accepted before, and I am sure you will be able to come up with tonnes of even better ideas. 

Another good way for ticking the publications box is to try and get a few case reports published. This is relatively easy, as interesting cases do not just present to a teaching hospital. My tip is, to photograph anything unusual that walks through your clinic door, even if you are not sure it is a potential case report. You have nothing to loose, and I must say it does catch the editor's eye when your case report has got a picture or 2. Everyone likes looking at pictures, not just reading long wads of text. If you are not thinking like that in clinic, you might miss the boat. 

If there are any SpRs at your DGH, ask if you can tag along with some work they have got going on. Many would be only to grateful for the help. 

If you feel you are getting good surgical and clinical experience at your present post, then yes you may stay on. I think though, it is usually better to not stay in the one place for too long, as it is not always viewed favorably. So even if you cannot get a teaching hosp post right now, perhaps you should consider applying for other posts in different DGHs. Just make sure if you do go for another DGH, that it is better, and more highly regarded than the one you are in, otherwise you will be demoting yourself, rather than promoting yourself. If the one you are in is very hard to beat, then yes, you may be better off staying there, but get your consultants to canvas your case to their local teaching hosp colleagues. I know my old consultants did that alot, and it helped I am sure. 

I wouldn't jump into doing an MSc just yet, as I do not think you are fighting a loosing battle just yet. Besides, can you afford to take a year off without pay, and fund an MSc? Why not get your own dept to fund your MSc part time. You will be surprised how amenable to that idea they would be. That sounds like a better idea, and may improve your chances of getting shortlisted for SpR numbers when that time comes. 

Finaly, check the presentation of your cv, as that may be part of your downfall. You would be surprised what a difference a well laid out, formatted cv makes, highlighting your strong footings. Ask someone ruthless to go through it. 

You will get there. Just hold tight. It can be a bumpy ride at times. It is always heart warming to speak to SpRs, as a lot did not have a smooth transition to get there.

- Kate

An MSc is not going to secure an SpR post. Most people who do MSc do not come away with a publication. Passing your membership, doing plenty of surgery and publishing papers (remember that quantity is more important than quality at this stage) are of much greater importance. If you are seriously considering research approach teaching hospital consultants in your region, go prepared with ideas no matter how foolish you think they might be - show interest in doing 'extra' work over your normal SHO duties and keep your fingers crossed 

NTN blues

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