Serious infection and critical care in children – A learning approach centred on clinical practice

Dr Aubrey Cunnington, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Imperial College, explains how the Serious Infection and Critical Care in Children short course has developed its practical approach to learning which has proved effective and popular with students. Aubrey directs the course alongside Dr Sanjay Patel who is currently Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Southampton Children’s Hospital.

‘This short course is one of the most popular in the theme of Paediatrics and Child Health. The course has a real emphasis on application to clinical practice, built on an understanding of the most important underlying principles.

Every year we ask our attendees to evaluate the course and suggest improvements. We really do listen to this feedback and constantly seek to improve the course. It is clear that the needs of our delegates have evolved over time, and the learning styles which they find most useful have also evolved. Some content is always present – for example, learning about unconscious biases in decision making. Other content is adapted to evolving needs for both current practice and for practice in the future.

Attendees consistently praise the small group workshops as one of the most useful ways for them to learn. These are essentially like small group tutorials discussing instructive real life cases with experts in the field of infectious diseases and critical care. The tutors enjoy these as much as the delegates! Since attendees can select to attend just the first day, or both days of the course, we have typically run the workshops on the first day and focussed on underpinning knowledge and future-proofing on the second day. This year, due to popular demand, we have added workshops to the second day of the course, incorporating antimicrobial stewardship and infection control. These topics are now high priorities in the paediatric wards and critical care settings.

Last year we incorporated a “debate” into the second day of the course, which required a little preparation work by the attendees. This year we plan to repeat this with a provocative topic, which will encourage participants to synthesise much of the course content.

Once again we’ll be collecting feedback this year, and we’re sure the 2019 course will be slightly different again, but that’s what makes this course so popular and why our faculty love teaching on it.’ 

Serious Infection and Critical Care in Children will be taking place on 26 – 27 April 2018. Please visit the course website for further details


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