Training and development (stroke 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.

Specialist training for stroke medicine takes two years. You cannot start specialist training in stroke medicine until you have obtained Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and have been accepted as a specialty trainee (and hold a national training number) in one of the following specialties:

Stroke medicine training can begin at any time after appointment to the specialty training post, either full-time or if you fulfil the criteria, on a less-than-full-time basis.

During stroke medicine training two years’ experience orientated to the stroke medicine curriculum will be required, one year of which must be at the level of advanced stroke medicine training, and will usually take place in the penultimate or final year of your main specialty training as an additional year of out of programme training. The training will include an attachment to a comprehensive stroke service that includes:

  • a hyper-acute stroke unit
  • acute and longer-term rehabilitation units
  • TIA and outpatient clinics

The best time to undertake the advanced training is the penultimate year of specialty training, to ensure the competencies of specialty training can be built upon. The main training in stroke medicine is integrated with the main specialty and can start of the beginning of specialty training, ST3.

For trainees enrolled in a specialty where there is already a substantial component of training relevant to stroke medicine (geriatric medicine and neurology), at least one year of training can be accepted towards stoke medicine sub-specialty training (subject to approval). Trainees would still be required to complete a minimum full year of advanced stroke medicine training attached to a comprehensive stroke service.

You can then become a consultant in your chosen specialty with an interest in stroke medicine or work as a full-time stroke physician. After sub-specialty training in stroke medicine has been completed, trainees will have the sub-specialty of stroke medicine included in their entry in the GMC’s specialist register alongside their certificate of completion of training (CCT) in their main specialty.

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.

    • join your university medical society
    • attend conferences for medical students – 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 Association of Stroke Physicians as an affiliate member
    • 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)
    • arrange a placement in stroke medicine if possible
    • choose the topic of your supervised research project carefully to test out your thinking
    • talk to your clinical and educational supervisors about your interest in stroke medicine
    • use full placements to find out more or apply for taster experiences if you can’t get a placement
    • become an associate member of the British Association of Stroke Physicians
    • taking part in a clinical audit is important for your development as a doctor  and if possible, choose an audit project related to stroke medicine or one of the related specialties
    • 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.

    • speak to consultants about what the role is like
    • read as much information as you can on the websites of relevant professional bodies
    • continue as an associate member of the British Association of Stroke Physicians
    • develop a genuine interest in stroke medicine
    • be prepared to move to where the vacancies are
    • 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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