A part-time master’s can help you accelerate your career, whilst you continue working at the same time. James Garbarino is into his final year on the Paediatric Anaesthesia MSc programme and here he gives his insight into the programme, his career and his plans for the future.
My interest in Paediatric Anaesthesia
I enrolled in the Paediatric Anaesthesia MSc during my placement in paediatric anaesthesia. I find the topic interesting, challenging and diverse. Early during my placement I realised that I wanted to learn more about the science and pathophysiology of patients presenting for anaesthesia. After making some initial enquiries I was drawn by the course content, which encompassed specific conditions and issues that I could relate to.
The course is delivered by a motivated, enthusiastic and approachable team of Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetists. They designed the modules to offer both directly clinically relevant topics and some core skills which I believe will help to improve my ability to critically appraise data and evidence and practice evidence based medicine.
The part-time online nature of the course is ideally suited to my unpredictable work schedule and has helped to ease the workload.
Course progression for my career
I am an Anaesthetic Trainee in the North West deanery. Prior to starting this MSc course, I had an interest in pursuing a career in paediatric anaesthesia. I was involved in some service improvement projects and was trying to do some background reading to help my understanding of paediatric anaesthesia.
Before commencing my anaesthetic training I worked in A&E and Acute Medicine both in England and abroad. During my anaesthetic training I have always had an interest in teaching and trying to improve clinical experience and therefore outcomes.
The course itself
After completing my first year, I feel that the course has exceeded my expectations. I found the course content to be engaging and interesting, allowing for some interesting discussions with my colleagues during the modules. Some of the generic modules set by the University of Manchester have helped with literature searches, understanding epidemiology and research methods.
The course is part-time and runs during the University term times. Two modules run simultaneously side by side and are usually very different and offer variety.
The content is released weekly via blackboard, the learning environment used by the University. This is an interactive platform that allows for discussion with other students. Each module usually involves a contribution to the weekly content and two assessments, the mid-term and final assignments.
The majority of the course consists of online distance learning as well as typically two face to face teaching days per module.
Highlights of the course
I find the face to face teaching sessions interesting and different. It offers an opportunity to meet and discuss different issues in small groups, whilst offering a change from the usual weekly routine.
I believe that the modules have direct clinical relevance and have changed my approach to various situations improving patient care. Probably because of my background and personal preferences, I found the basic sciences module and current paediatric special cases the most interesting.
Several of the assessments have been particularly useful and lend themselves to be adapted as either patient leaflets or guidelines.
I will be starting work as a Locum Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist in a Tertiary Centre in the next few months. I believe that this course has helped me to gain further knowledge and skills which will help in this role.
As a direct result of this course, I would like to take a more active role in teaching and service improvement projects. Throughout my career I have always tried to take part and lead on different service improvement projects. I feel that this course has given me a further experience and understanding of the processes involved and some other ideas I would like to develop.
I was completing my advanced year in paediatric anaesthesia when I enrolled on this course. During this time I was working in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. As part of my year, I was exposed to all cases of paediatric anaesthesia including neonates, rare syndromes, Paediatric Intensive Care, paediatric cardiac anaesthesia.
My advice to you
I believe that if like me you are interested in paediatric anaesthesia and want to learn more about the pathophysiology, science and delivery of paediatric anaesthesia, this course will suit your needs. Although I will be working in a Tertiary Centre I feel that this course is suitable to all those involved in non-Tertiary Centre paediatrics. I firmly believe that I would not have been able to cover such a wide range of topics if left to my own devices. Several modules in the course also help to develop more generic skills such as critical appraisal of literature and evidence as well as research methods to help improve clinical practice and evidence based learning.