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Enhancing perceptions of paediatrics and stimulating specialty recruitment using simulation
  1. Peter Mallett1,
  2. Carol Junk1,
  3. Christopher Flannigan2,
  4. Andrew Fitzsimons3,
  5. Andrew Thompson1,
  6. Thomas Bourke1,4
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Simulation and Education, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Intensive Care, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  3. 3Department of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  4. 4Centre for Medical Education, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Mallett, Department of Paediatric Simulation & Education, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast BT12 6BE, UK; peter.mallett{at}

Statistics from


Paediatrics, like many specialties within the UK and Ireland, is experiencing a decline in applications for specialty training.1 Reasons include perceptions of poor flexibility, an arduous training programme and lack of adequate career guidance and support.2

In the UK, the transition between foundation-level training and specialty training is an uncertain and stressful time.3 In fact, in recent years applications to specialty training are decreasing despite the number of training posts increasing. In 2016, only 50% of foundation 2 doctors reported that they would enter directly into specialty training.4

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) suggests strategies to increase recruitment should include exposure to educational opportunities.2 There is currently no evidence on the use of simulation as a tool to enhance specialty recruitment.

We believe that allowing access to simulation training allows us to showcase our specialty as an acute, stimulating and exciting career. It permits us to challenge the misconception of paediatrics as a ‘soft speciality’. We can address trainees’ concerns regarding the recognition of the sick child. Furthermore, it affords the trainees an opportunity to enhance …

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  • Contributors PM, TB and AT devised the concept. All contributed to course design and are faculty members. PM, CJ, AT and TB designed the evaluation. PM wrote the manuscript and TB revised.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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