Intended for healthcare professionals


Editor’s Choice: Alight here to think

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 26 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2909
  1. Tom Moberly, editor
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. tmoberly{at}

Junior doctors often say that progressing through clinical training is like being on a runaway train. The “one size fits all” structure of medical training can feel restrictive, rather than supportive. At the same time, pressure to specialise early can make trainee doctors feel that they are rushing decisions that they may end up regretting, rather than taking these decisions at a time that is right for them.

Increasing numbers of doctors are taking breaks between foundation training and specialty training. In 2015 nearly half (48%) did so. Given the uncertainty generated by the debacle over the junior doctor contract, I would expect that more than half may choose to do so this year. But there are other ways to step outside the rigid structure of a training programme.

In BMJ Careers this week Richard Thomson and colleagues argue that teaching fellowships offer junior doctors an opportunity to pause the medical training journey The number of clinical teaching fellowships available to doctors in training is increasing, and these posts offer a host of benefits that can “revolutionise a fellow’s understanding of medical practice,” Thomson and his coauthors say.

“A teaching fellowship provides junior doctors with the perfect way to slow the training process down and broaden their horizons,” they write. “Becoming a teaching fellow allows the time to develop as a clinical teacher, and potentially makes fellows better doctors and more rounded people.”


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