Training and development (rehabilitation medicine)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Entry into rehabilitation medicine can be through a variety of core training routes.

  • internal medicine stage 1, which is a two to three-year programme. Trainees may join after year 2 if they have full MRCP Diploma 
  • acute care common stem – ACCS (acute medicine), which is a four-year programme. Trainees may join after year 3 if they have full MRCP Diploma 
  • general practice specialty training
  • core surgical training
  • core psychiatry training

Completion of foundation training and core training are essential. Applicants should hold full MRCP (UK) if their background is core medical training (CMT)/internal medicine stage 1 training or acute care common stem training (ACCS). Rehabilitation medicine is also open to those who have completed core surgical training including the MRCS examination, Core psychiatry training including MRCPsych or general practice specialty training including MRCGP. Not all applicants who meet the required standard to continue will necessarily be offered a post due to the level of competition.

Trainees can enter specialty training in rehabilitation medicine at ST3 level. Specialty training takes a minimum of four years.

Stroke medicine is a sub-specialty training programme open to rehabilitation trainees. Trainees should express an interest in stroke training before their final year so that the first year of stroke training can be integrated into their main specialty training. A second year of advanced stroke medicine training is required to reach the level required of consultants. Entry to stroke training is by competitive interview.

Getting in tips

These tips will give you some ideas to add to your CV. 

Whether you're a medical student, foundation trainee or doing your core specialty training, there's information below to help you. 

    • opportunities in medical training to visit rehabilitation centres is limited so make an effort to find out about this specialty
    • join your university medical society
    • attend conferences for medical students – many are free – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • get involved with the GMC (General Medical Council), eg medical students can participate in visits to medical schools as part of the GMC’s quality assurance process
    • consider joining the specialist society for your chosen specialty as a student member, eg the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine
    • consider becoming a student member of the BMA (The British Medical Association is the trade union and professional association for doctors and provides careers advice)
    • make your specialty decisions in good time so that you can test it out before committing yourself, eg by using hospital visits and clinical placements arranged as part of your course to ask questions and observe people at work
    • choose the topic of your supervised research project carefully to test out your career thinking
    • remember your first priority is to demonstrate that you have developed the personal, learning, clinical, practical and management skills needed by all doctors
    • think laterally when applying for rotations – vacancies may not be available in rehabilitation medicine so apply for a rotation in a related field
    • talk to your clinical and educational supervisors about particular areas of interest to explore
    • use full placements to experience specialties that you might be interested in or apply for taster experiences if you can’t get a placement
    • talk with your peers about their career ideas and experiences – you may be able to help each other
    • listen to information and advice from more experienced doctors but make your own decisions
    • taking part in a clinical audit is important for your development as a doctor but you may be able to choose an audit project related to a specialty that interests you
    • ensure your Foundation e-portfolio has plenty of medical evidence and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • look at competition ratios (ie the number of applicants to places) critically. Find out what is happening this year and spot any regional differences in competition ratios
    • view the careers resources on the Foundation Programme website
    • write case reports or make presentations (in acute medicine, for instance) with a rehabilitation medicine focus
    • enter essay prizes and competitions
    • ensure a good grounding in acute general medicine
    • join the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine and get help with navigating your way through specialty training
    • speak to consultants about what the role is like
    • read as much information as you can on the websites of relevant professional bodies
    • impress interviewers by showing that your interest in the specialty is intrinsically motivated, ie you are drawn to the work and not just attracted by admiration of someone you have shadowed (You will also be happier in your career in that specialty many years later!)
    • be prepared to move to where the vacancies are
    • study for the examinations for the membership of your chosen Royal College
    • continue to develop your practical and academic expertise
    • undertake a research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • join or start a Journal Club (a group who meet to critically evaluate academic research)
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
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