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Less Than Full-Time Training

Emma Fishleigh (BSoT representative for HEE North West Deanery) chose to undertake LTFT training. Her reflections on this are shown below:

“ ... I always wanted to have a family, and when I became pregnant during my ST3 year, I knew that I would like to return to work as a less than full time trainee.  Although there are more and more women going into surgical training, there are still relatively few female urology Consultants and even fewer who work on a part-time basis.  Nonetheless, the tide is beginning to turn as awareness and acceptance of part-time working and training within surgery is growing.  

"I now have one daughter, a GP husband, a brilliant nursery and a full and exciting work life.  There are currently no other LTFT urology trainees in my area, so I am working part-time in a full-time slot.  This means that I get the same choice as the other trainees about placements; so far, this has allowed me to choose which days I work, based around my daughter’s attendance at nursery.  Working part-time has also enabled me to take on positions of leadership which I would not have had time to do as a full-time working mum, such as being a regional representative for SURG and the first, local LTFT representative.  I also have more time to broaden my CV and am about to start the locally run MSc in Urology on a full-time basis as well as complete a masters-level module in teaching and learning.

"There are, however, challenges associated with training part-time.  It can be difficult to fulfil all of your training needs in every job, because there may be certain things which only occur on your days off, such as TRUS biopsy lists, urodynamics or ESWL, but, compared with full-time colleagues, you will have more placements in which these can be attained.  Providing continuity of care can also be problematic; I have had to learn to use my time efficiently, and to be as flexible as possible to take every training opportunity available.  I do find myself having to use some of my non-working days to do projects, writing and, sometimes, attend courses.

"I hope to have another child, which will entail another period of maternity leave and, most probably, a prolonged period of LTFT.  I know that I shall see colleagues who started registrar training with me pass their exams, gain their CCTs and become established as Consultants many years before I do.  Sometimes this is hard, but I try to remember that becoming a Consultant is not a race to the finish line, and I am really enjoying the journey which training LTFT has offered me – the balance between working and spending more time with my daughter as she grows up ... "