Chair of the Trainees Council: Expressions of interest now open!

Carly Welch is current Chair of the Trainees Council and co-founded the Geriatric Medicine Research Collaborative (GeMRC). She is currently out of programme completing a PhD characterising acute sarcopenia in hospitalised older adults. She tweets @CarlyWelch_42

If you are reading this, then I suspect you may already be interested in applying to this role. Before you read on any further, my biggest advice to you is that if even a tiny part of you is considering this, then really you should go for it! Now to try to convince you further…

Why is this role so important?

With more than 1,180 members trainees are the second biggest group within the BGS, and we now have more trainee members than we have ever had. We know that trainees work differently to consultants and GPs, as we frequently rotate around different hospitals, and different departments within the same hospitals. We work varying shift patterns that can leave us tired and valuing our free time. At the same time, we need to make sure we meet our training requirements so that we can progress on to the next stage. Therefore, it is vitally important that we have trainee representation across the BGS structure.

What does the role involve?

As Chair of the Trainees Council, you will be formally registered as a trustee in the charity. This means that you will be responsible for voting and agreeing key decisions with the other trustees, as well as helping to share the strategic direction of the BGS in improving healthcare for older people. Do not worry if this sounds intimidating – the BGS staff are very supportive and will arrange training and an induction process for you right at the start of the role. You will be expected to attend BGS Board meetings, RCP Officers meetings, and Trainees Council meetings, which each happen between two and four times a year (nine meetings per year in total). Trainees Council meetings bring together all the trainee officers on respective BGS committees. Over the last year, we’ve discussed education and training, research and academia, and educational events from a trainee perspective, allowing collective thoughts to be relayed back to the individual committees. This is your opportunity to see Marjory Warren House in real life, and there is a little bar across the street we often visit afterwards! Of course, over the last year all our meetings have been virtual. The BGS is very well set-up for video calls if you are unable to attend some of the meetings in person when these are back up and running again.

Would I recommend the role?

100% yes! It really has been a brilliant opportunity! I have felt warmly invited into the BGS family and have also loved getting to know the other trainee officers in the other roles on the council. My time at the BGS has of course been largely in the midst of a global pandemic. However, I have been greatly impressed by the way that the BGS staff, officers, and all our members rose to the challenge. The BGS has been able to produce rapid and pivotal policy documents that have shaped the care of older adults throughout the pandemic. Working with the other trainee officers has really demonstrated the importance of peer support, and understanding how training and clinical services have been affected across different regions. Although your role is as chair, everyone really has their own roles, so we work together as a team (so do not worry if you are not “bossy”). I have learnt so much in this role and being able to contribute to the BGS Board meetings and RCP Officers meetings, I have felt that our voice as trainees is truly valued. As an example, an initial survey on Less Than Full Time (LTFT) training led to the generation of a formal BGS report, and a new LTFT workforce subgroup. As I said at the start, if even a tiny part of you is considering applying, then you really should go for it!

Are you interested?

To apply for this role, check out the full role description here, and send an expression of interest (maximum 500 words) to trainees [at] bgs [dot] org [dot] uk by 31 July 2021. In the event of multiple self-nominations, an election will be held in which of active BGS trainee members will be able to vote. You will be given the opportunity to update/amend your expression of interest in the form of a manifesto to be seen by all trainee members prior to voting.


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