Our journey as the RCR’s Fairer Training Outcomes Fellows
Article by: Abiola Fatimilehin and Zsuzsanna Iyizoba-Ebozue
An exciting opportunity presented itself last year for us to become the RCR’s Fairer Training Outcomes Fellows in clinical oncology (CO) and explore the invisible exclusionary mechanisms within training.
As we come to the end of our Fellowship though, it’s time for two more fellows to help shape our training and be part of something worthwhile. We wanted to share our journey over the last two years and give you an insight into what we’ve learned and why we’ve enjoyed the fellowship so much.
The RCR recognises addressing inequities and bridging existing gaps in postgraduate training is of importance to trainees, trainers and healthcare institutions. The College is also passionate about promoting a culture where equality, diversity and inclusion are much more than just buzzwords.
We strongly believe that the opportunity for open discourse helps in breaking through barriers and allows both trainees and seniors to understand better the challenges in each other’s roles.
Our work involved carrying out a national mixed method study, which improved our understanding of drivers of differential attainment in clinical oncology. The findings will inform future strategies to address the attainment gap.
'Do we have all the answers?’ No! However, we certainly know more now – and we have a clearer idea of areas we need to work on.
With a strong focus on mentorship, we also set up the RCR reverse mentorship pilot programme and laid the groundwork for future mentorship opportunities through speed mentoring and peer mentoring.
"The Fellowship was a great learning experience in so many ways. We were faced with an incredibly complex issue, and the answers we found led to more questions which meant I was learning constantly. I developed valuable leadership skills by collaborating with several stakeholders to organise and execute a national project. I also found a deep sense of belonging and connection with the RCR.
At the end of this Fellowship, I’m left with a sense of gratitude for having been given this amazing opportunity, new meaningful friendships, increased confidence in myself and connection to the wider clinical oncology community."
Zsuzsanna Iyizoba-Ebozue (Clinical Research Fellow, ST7 Leeds Cancer Center)
"Being able to delve into previously under-discussed and potentially sensitive topics with colleagues was a real privilege. We built great relationships across the UK and with the College faculty team. We were also given the platform to raise awareness on the issue of differential attainment and I got to feel like we could influence change.
I’m confident that the momentum will carry on even when our tenure ends. I will fondly remember this time as one where putting myself outside of my comfort zone reaped a host of benefits both to myself and the people around me."
Abiola Fatimilehin (ST7 The Christie Nhs Foundation Trust)
Our journey as CO fairer training fellows may have come to an end, but now it’s time for the next two fellows to continue our work. The RCR is calling for trainees who are passionate about promoting fair and equitable training, to manage and deliver on projects and who are keen to develop their leadership skills.