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Interview with Aimee Charnell – 2020 Recipient of the Joint FST & ASME Grant

22 April 2021

Aimee Charnell is a general surgical trainee with a keen interest in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. She is currently completing a PhD in medical education. Her research explores how surgical trainees learn in clinics with the support of video footage. Her study investigates how surgical trainers consider the Capabilities in Practice (CiPs) when trainees attend outpatient clinics and how surgical trainees are best supported when seeing patients in clinics.

What did receiving the award of FST/ASME grant mean to you?

I am very appreciative of this grant, which funds the consumables for my medical education PhD project. I am a member of both ASME and FSTEd. I have learnt much of my surgical education theory from both organisations and both have allowed me to network with other keen surgical educationalists.

When I saw the grant advertised, I was very keen to apply. The funding has meant many things for me. The application process allowed me to refine my research and ensure that I could present it suitably for both educationalists and surgeons. Being awarded the grant has allowed me to buy consumables that support my PhD project. Holding the funding also puts me in a solid position to apply for further research grants once I have finished my PhD, as I hope to complete additional projects on learning in outpatient clinics.

What research project did this grant fund?

My project explores how trainees learn in clinics, by filming trainees performing clinics, including their discussions with seniors. I wanted to ensure this was in a minimally intrusive way. The grant has allowed me to purchase tiny (GoPro) cameras, which I have been able to stick on the wall in the corner of the room and be barely visible. The grant has also allowed me to purchase coffee vouchers for attendees of my focus groups as a small token of my appreciation.

Where did the completion of your research project take you and what are your plans for the future?

Although I had planned to complete my research in early 2021, COVID put a considerable halt to my research. My plan was to video trainees completing face-to-face clinics, which completely stopped during the pandemic. I spent time with the clinical team to support their move to telephone clinics, which made me realise it would be safer to video trainees completing telephone clinics. As this required ethical amendments, I am currently in the process of collecting data now. The next step will be analysing the videos and writing up my PhD thesis. Following my PhD, I would like to do a more extensive study exploring trainee learning and support in other outpatient clinics.

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