Real-life story – Broad Based Training (BBT)

Dr Kristina Head is a BBT1 trainee working within Health Education South West. She discusses her experiences of Broad Based Training.

Photos of Dr Kristina Head
Dr Kristina Head BBT1 trainee
Employer or university Health Education South West (HESW)
Salary range Unknown

About BBT

Broad Based Training (BBT) is a training programme that was first piloted in 2013-14, and which has been developed in conjunction with Health Education North West.

This is a training route that was available between 2012 - 2015 in several LETBs in England. HEE executive has taken the decision to cease recruitment to Broad Based Training with immediate effect. This means you will not be able to apply to Broad Based Training for posts in England starting August 2016. For more information, please visit the Health Education North West website. However, there are some new BBT programmes running in Wales in 2016.

The programme is run over two years, with four six-month rotations in paediatrics, general practice, psychiatry and core medical training. Entry to one of these specialties at CT2 or ST2 level occurs within the same LETB on completion of the programme, without any further competition.

Why I chose to do BBT

I wanted to be part of this programme so that I could experience specialties I had not been able to during the foundation programme, such as paediatrics and psychiatry. BBT also allows me the extra time to firmly decide upon my future career path. Finally, this programme will make me more adept at managing the complex patient, giving me unique skills that I will use throughout my career.

My time during BBT

I moved to the HESW in order to commence the programme and, having completed almost 2 months, I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying myself. My first rotation is in paediatrics at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. After a couple of days of induction I have been spending my time in the different areas of paediatrics and feel as though I am now fully integrated into the specialty team.

On the postnatal ward I have been doing baby checks, looking for any abnormalities in newborn babies. I have worked for a few days on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), working with the team to look after unwell neonates and attend deliveries. I’ve spent this week on the paediatric assessment unit seeing new patients on admission. This has enabled me to develop my skills in assessing and managing the sick child.

Each rotation of the BBT programme has a minor specialty attached to it. The minor specialty, totalling 10% of the rotation, is taken from one of the other three specialties which make up the programme. This provides excellent cross-specialty opportunities.

My paediatric minor specialty has been psychiatry, providing awareness of paediatric mental health, where tutors and trainees alike have experienced a steep learning curve. This is mainly due to logistics of arranging swap-over times during my already busy paediatric rota. A lack of awareness from colleagues that this swap over time is part of the programme has contributed to the difficulty.

As the programme continues to evolve I anticipate that the swap-over times will become easier to facilitate. To date I have worked on the mental health general inpatient ward, and attended ward rounds and outpatient clinics. My forthcoming plans include work with the child and adolescent mental health teams.

BBT training sessions

Trainees are expected to attend teaching sessions within each rotation’s specialty. In addition to this there are BBT-specific teaching sessions once a month bringing together trainees in all four of the specialties. The first of these sessions was an introduction to the programme. The remaining sessions will be based on cases from our own experience, providing further cross-specialty opportunities. These sessions provide a fresh approach to learning by bringing together trainees from different specialties, each with a variety of interests, experiences, and views.

Benefits of BBT

BBT offers a new way of learning and allows me to become a more rounded clinician, equipping me with the skills I need to care for patients with complex needs during my career.

More information on BBT can be found on the Health Education North West website, at the BMJ careers fair, and on individual Royal College websites.

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