National Trainee Representative for the Czech Republic and chairwoman of the Czech Young Anaesthesiologists Section
A few months before the Euroanaesthesia Congress in Geneva in 2017, the chief of our Department, Assoc. Prof. Petr Stourac (who is also a member of ESA Council), addressed me to become the National Trainee Representative (NTR) for the Czech Republic in the ESA Trainees Committee (ESATC). I honestly had no idea what exactly it meant! At the ESATC meeting during the congress, all NTR were asked to promote the trainee sections at a national level. At that time there were not any in the Czech Republic. So, I asked the ESATC members how to start one? The advice was to use Social Media, set up a Facebook group, start to reach out other national trainees and be patient. But it worked! Nowadays, we have more than 300 members (there are about 500 trainees in our country).
The first real activity we started with was to create a logo and a banner. It was not my idea and from the beginning, I was thinking it is way too much and we don’t really need it. But in retrospect, it helped us to arouse the impression that the Czech Young Anaesthesiologists and Intensivists Section is the real thing. Then we had a small booth at the National Czech Anaesthesiology Congress (this was also an idea from the ESATC). I was sitting there for 3 days and almost nobody came. We also prepared a questionnaire and maybe just 20 people answered it. In that moment, I was really disappointed and had the feeling that it was all a waste of time. Fortunately, I am not the only one in the team and my enthusiastic colleagues helped me. In 2018, the Czech National Anaesthesiology Society addressed us to organize a lecture focused on Trainees‘ education in the country for our National Congress. In 2019’s National Congress they already automatically included us. Moreover, we were also asked to cooperate in the formation of the new postgraduate education system in Anaesthesia and Intensive Medicine. So, I guess it was definitely worth doing!
Furthermore, we focused on the organisation of educational meetings for trainees, mainly because we were lacking some lectures especially devoted to the information we needed. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to doubt the importance of glycocalyx during sepsis, but as trainees who just started with our clinical job, we are simply focused on other, more basic things…
With the support of the educational web portal AKUTNE.CZ we organized the whole day parallel programme for trainees at the IX. Conference of AKUTNE.CZ 2017 (it is the biggest one-day conference in our field in the Czech Republic). We named it “What we should know about…“. It had great success. At the X. Conference of AKUTNE.CZ we focused on “What should we rightly do when coping with…“. This year we prepare “What are the most common mistakes trainees make in… “.The lecture room was absolutely full both times.I hope it will become our autumn tradition!
In the Spring, one of my closest colleagues, Ondrej Jor, has been organising the Annual Meeting of Young Anaesthesiologist. It is supposed to be just a local meeting of the trainees from the Northern-east part of the Republic, but people like it more and more and the idea of a “trainees for trainees“ meeting became so attractive, that the distance is no longer a question. This Spring was already the third Meeting and hopefully not the last !
In summary, when creating a new National Trainee Section, what key points do I see?
- Ask for help from your National Society. They already know about the necessity of supporting trainees from ESA. Ask them to make it official.
- Use Social Media.They are modern and you can easily spread your ideas.
- Find your team.It is not a job for one person.
- Create a logo.
- Focus on educational meetings with an informal discussion afterwards. There is a huge lack of information focused especially on trainees‘ needs at traditional congresses and conferences.
- Do not worry about communicating with the highest authorities in your society.We are all just the human beings and they take it much more openly than you would expect.
- If you want to hear feedback or send out a questionnaire, don’t give up.If it is really important, ask directly for help from the chiefs of departments to help you promote it among their trainees.
- Be ready for a lot of unseen work.
- Do not let silly comments discourage you.
- Communicate with the ESA Trainees Committee.
Hopefully, this will help somebody!