Join a committee
Many pathology-based societies have trainee representative roles or trainee-lead committees e.g.
- Research charities
- Deanery-level or local pathology training programme committees
- Opportunity to contribute to your specialty and improve the current situation for pathology trainees.
- Improves your understanding of the inner-workings of key pathology organisations.
- Develops a range of important skills.
- Allows you to interact with senior academic pathologists and also your peers. Gets your name known and builds your reputation.
- CV- points – demonstrates key qualities (e.g. commitment, dynamism, organisation, team-work, leadership etc.) and ensures you stand out.
Apply to join a committee
- Don’t be intimidated. Not many trainees apply for these positions and it’s often the same few who do – the chance of success is usually high.
- Don’t put off applying. Pathology training isn’t that long and many of the committee positions are for 3 years. You’ll also have less time available as you approach the FRCPath Part II exam. Apply as early as ST1 – most committee positions require you to act as a ‘trainee representative’ (gathering the views of trainees and feeding information back to them) - you can do this even with relatively little experience at ST1 level.
- Look out for advertised vacancies or contact the organisation you’re interested in to see if there are any upcoming vacancies or to express an interest.
- Contact the administrator or the trainee in the current position to ask for the job description/terms of reference and to find out what the role entails. This will allow you to decide if you’re interested and to pitch the application/personal statement appropriately.
- You can join more than one committee, providing you have adequate time (check first with your Educational and Clinical Supervisors). Committee work is usually carried out in your own time, although committee meetings will often take place mid-week and may require study leave.
- Applications usually require a CV or short personal statement explaining why you feel you’re suited to the role and what you hope to achieve. Use this to demonstrate your enthusiasm and give specific examples which illustrate your skillset.
Best of luck!
Joining a committee
- Try to arrange a handover with your predecessor (do this as soon as possible as it becomes harder later on if contact details change or details are forgotten). Ask if there are any outstanding action points/a to-do list for you to inherit.
- Ask the organisation that you’re joining for a calendar of upcoming meetings that you’re expected to attend. Request leave and book train tickets well in advance. Familiarise yourself with the expenses policy. If you’re unable to attend one of the meetings, find out if you’re required to arrange for a deputy to attend on your behalf.
- If there is more than one trainee representative, make contact and decide how you will delegate/job share and how often you will hold your own meetings/liaise.
- At your first committee meeting, make sure you introduce yourself. Committees are often large and meet infrequently, so the Chair may not realise that you’re new.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up - remember you’re representing ‘trainees’ not your own views. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand.
- Ask for a short slot on the agenda if there isn’t one already for the trainee representative and if you feel that this would be helpful.
- Make your own minutes and action plan. Formal minutes are usually taken but are often released sometime after the meeting has taken place. When they’re released, check your section for accuracy.
- Disseminate relevant information to trainees and collect feedback. Ask the organisation to help. Options include:
- a mailing list that you can access (usually via an administrator due to data protection issues)
- creating an email address that trainees can use to contact you (the organisation may be able to provide you with one)
- sending trainees a short newsletter to keep them updated
- creating a survey to gather trainees’ views
- Record your role on your CV, LEPT, ARCP documents etc.
- At the end of your tenure create handover documents and templates for your successor to save them time and to ensure continuity.