My experience as a BGS clinical fellow
Dr Elinor Burn is a Geriatric Medicine Registrar at Leicester Royal Infirmary. In Autumn 2023, she was the BGS Front Door Frailty Clinical Fellow and wrote our recently published resource Front door frailty: Advice on setting up services.
When the short term BGS frailty fellowship was highlighted to me I had already been thinking about applying for another fellowship year. Having previously worked as a surgical liaison fellow before my registrar training, I’d appreciated the time away from the training conveyer belt. However, I had some concern over the impact of a year-long post extending my training time. The BGS post was proposed as a short-term fellowship which suited me and my LTFT work pattern at the time, especially given that the request was to start immediately.
The brief for this project was to develop a resource aimed at supporting BGS members setting up front door frailty services. I was appointed in early October and at one of our initial meetings, I was asked whether creating a piece of work ahead of the peak of NHS winter pressures 2023/24 on such a short time scale was achievable. The tight timeline generated ongoing momentum which suited me, and I was able to secure the designated hours to dedicate to the work. The shift in focus from clinical work and training was refreshing, although it was somewhat of an adjustment to have to sit still at a computer!
The BGS frailty fellowship created the opportunity to develop my interests and knowledge in the world of front door frailty. There was a drive to reach out and contact senior leaders and experienced colleagues in the geriatric speciality with project questions to further this understanding. Regular check-in sessions with the BGS Policy Manager allowed me to feel supported but did not restrict me and allowed the resource to develop organically. We could validate the direction the work was taking and I was offered support to establish the required steps in the process and the practicalities of achieving them.
The momentum we established enabled the front door frailty resource to be produced on schedule and it has been received well with an unexpected snowball effect. After launching this work at a platform presentation at the BGS Autumn Meeting 2023, I was then invited by Professor Ken Rockwood to share the growing expertise of this work in the UK at the Frailty and Elder Care network meeting virtually in Canada. I have also received an invitation to present this work further in Europe this coming autumn.
I would recommend a BGS fellowship post to trainees and advanced practitioners who are motivated and looking to develop another part of their working interests that the clinical job can sometimes not allow for. I feel that this fellowship has developed me personally as well as producing a resource that has helped colleagues across the specialty to develop their services and improve their own knowledge.