There is no denying that practising medicine can be challenging and professionals are exposed to unique circumstances and stressors.
Trainees4Trainees is a Thames Valley trainee-led project with the aim to facilitate Peer Support Groups by trainees, for trainees.
How do the groups work?
Details of the group
Online via video conference
Up to about 10 participants per group
Participants will usually be from the same training programme
2 facilitators (also trainees) per group
45 minute sessions
Aims of the groups
To be a ‘normal’ part of training - being a doctor has inherent challenges and peer support can be a great way to support each other through
To provide a warm, welcoming, safe, confidential space.
To provide an opportunity for trainees to reflect generally on experiences or emotions, or the emotional response to particular cases
We aim to normalise lots of the emotional responses experienced through day-to-day work as a doctor
An opportunity to prioritise your psychological well-being
Our peer support groups can be offered at different times. It can happen within working hours, during teaching protected times or out-of-hours.
Why did we set up T4T?
Aisling Higham - 2020/21 Trainee Improvement Fellow and Ophthalmology Registrar
As a senior trainee, I wish I would have had access to groups like this throughout my training. The support trainees get in each rotation can be quite variable, and often this has an impact on how much a trainee enjoys a rotation and how happy they are.
During my training I have noticed that when the opportunity arises for a peer reflective discussion, often during these sessions everyone realises that many other people in the group feel the same way about certain scenarios and this normalising and reassurance can be really beneficial to a trainee’s wellbeing.
We want to ensure all trainees have access to peer support, and for peer support to become an integral part of all training. We want this to be for everybody, not just for trainees in difficulty. Medicine has many inherent challenges and peer support has been shown to be an excellent way to improve wellbeing and look after each other.
Sophie Behrman - RCPsych Leadership Fellow and Psychiatry Registrar
As a psychiatry trainee I have had the benefit of reflective groups as part of my training and am aware that colleagues in other specialties do not have this luxury. I have found ad hoc peer support invaluable through my training, and am lucky to have collected a network of peers I feel I can turn to through my training. T4T will hopefully formalise the excellent peer support that junior doctors already provide for eachother and will facilitate networking and connection building. “Support” should not just be for those that are struggling, but for all trainees who, by the nature of the job, will be experiencing intense emotional experiences on a regular basis. Normalising reflective practice and sharing experiences makes for safer, happier, and more effective clinicians.
The T4T sessions have been an absolute lifeline over the past few months. They were exactly what I needed to be able to get through the most challenging clinical situations of my career. The sessions showed me how talking about the way work affects our lives always made me feel less alone. It became normal to come together as colleagues and discuss our feelings which we often ignore in the everyday practice of medicine.
-Sam Jayaweera - Anaesthetics Trainee