Women of The Whitt – Conference

Women of The Whitt – 100 Years of Women in Medicine
– A conference organised by Caroline Fertleman.

What did you like most about this conference?

The keynote speakers had very well established careers, very interesting to hear how their journey
Very friendly and positive, lots of inspirational women keynote speakers. Listening to women who feel you can have it all, personal career progression stories.
Keynote talks were inspiring. A good reminder of why we should be activated and get actively involved in making change.
It was very informative and inspirational, all the keynote speakers were very inspirational and great role models.
An opportunity to meet and speak to a variety of different professionals and hear about their experiences.
Senior doctors sharing their stories really puts human sides to the face and allocates. Real role models.
The opportunity to share with and listen to the experiences of colleagues at all levels of training

Why did you attend?

To consider how to be more resilient, that it’s ok to want to do other things as a doctor
Options in academic medicine ways to deal with negative feelings, different specialities.
Saw an opportunity to learn more about life outside of clinical medicine as well as career options specifically aimed at women.
Line up sounded exciting, something new and different
Discovering the role of women in the NHS
Interest in gender and women, particularly women in medicine

What key learning points did you take away?

Helpful to empower each other
Learning together
“make the mould fit you” – don’t have to achieve consultancy in a set order or by a set time.
Great young women doctors
Your career doesn’t have to follow the normal pathway. How to approach difficult matters and develop resilience.
Women’s issues and how people in senior roles are affected ie. Childcare. Hearing about women in medicine
Flexibility is a right
That it is possible to manage work and home life with success. Most of all, that it is ok to have doubts and not feel like medicine has to be my #1 calling in life.
What the role of an active medic is and what the career progression is like, speed dating was fab!
If you want or are interested in a job description, apply for it with confidence!
Resilience how important it is (particularly for women) to allow themselves to be vulnerable when necessary as well as being strong.
To explore all my options and enjoy what medicine has to offer
The range of possibilities available career wise
Aim high/having it all is possible/ it has been great to meet role models
The importance of activism in medicine and the personal responsibility to take part
The impact of women in medicine and the challenges they may face and how these have been dealt with!
Women contribute so much to medicine and have so much more to offer
Can be a prominent professional as a woman
Medicine does have to be a vocation to be a good doctor
Importance and knowing own emotions in building resilience
There is a scope to improve, self develop, the importance of speaking to colleagues to seek strength
Inspirational women encouraging us to pursue our goals in medicine

Other comments

Well organized on the day
I would definitely want to come to another conference, so hopefully it will become a regular event!
Do it again!
Thank you, wonderful event! (x 2 respondents)





Derek Pavancini Concert

Caroline arranged a concert on 2nd November 2016 for the renowned pianst Derek Pavancini to play for the Paediatric Department at The Whittington Hospital.

Derek was born at 25 weeks gestation and is blind due to retinopathy of prematurity. Derek also has learning difficulties and autism.

– Derek Pavancini at The Whittington – view clip here

Watch Derek on YouTube here (Extra-ordinary People)

Twiddle Muffs Knitting Group

Caroline has launched a weekly knitting club at The Whittington Hospital, making ‘Twiddle Muffs’ for dementia sufferers.

Twiddle Muffs are small tubes of wool which can sit in patients hands or on their laps and are adorned with buttons, ribbons, bells and pompoms. They have proven popular with people with dementia who often have agitated hands. They are a great way to combat the restlessness and agitation that people with dementia can experience.

QI – Paperless Paediatric Department

This is my version of a Quality Improvement (QI) project where patient safety really has improved and there has been a cost saving. Caroline led the Paediatric department in becoming paperless for results and all consultants signed up for electronic filing

The picture shows a bed sheet made to look like a chemical pathology result – it would have been wrong to have a printed poster!

Surrounded by convinced (?!) paediatricians on NHS Sustainability Day.

Next step – Surgery & Obs/Gynae.

Are you “Jane” or “Dr Smith”? Does formality between trainers and trainees affect training and clinical practice?

In medicine junior team members often use a title and surname to address their seniors. Hannah Mitchell and colleagues ask whether this affects clinical practice and training.

Continue reading Are you “Jane” or “Dr Smith”? Does formality between trainers and trainees affect training and clinical practice?

Protecting Students and Promoting Resilience

The GMC’s report is essential reading for all those who come into contact with medical students

Overall the teaching session seemed to be going well. There is a gentle buzz of activity but one of the students seems distracted. Paul’s attendance on this attachment has been poor and your attempts at engaging him with gentle, simple questions have been stonewalled. You speak to him after the session and it’s evident that he has been struggling for some time. His mood is low; he appears to be holding back and is clearly worried about confiding in you and the university.

Our experience as educators would suggest that everyone involved in teaching will encounter a similar situation. Continue reading Protecting Students and Promoting Resilience

Editorial: How Best to Use Email with Patients

Email is a great way to communicate with patients, but it is important that doctors follow guidelines on its use, say Helen Sowerbutts and Caroline Fertleman

Many industries have been revolutionised by the use of email, and parts of Europe and North America have embraced its use in healthcare.[1] Today’s focus on patient centred care and accessibility means that email will become a key method of communication with patients.

However, considerable apprehension exists in the United Kingdom. Although medical protection agencies and the General Medical Council have published basic guidance,[2]anecdotal experience suggests that many clinicians are unaware of this or unsure of how it applies to their practice.[3] Doctors are using email without referring to guidelines, with potential patient safety and medicolegal implications. Continue reading Editorial: How Best to Use Email with Patients

Parenting for Paediatricians

Having written several books on parenting for the lay public I was approached by a medical student from Bristol to support her in her project to teach ‘parenting’ to medical students. This was certainly novel and is part of the curriculum in the USA but not in the UK. I felt able to contribute to this topic because of my publishing history and being a parent of three children. Continue reading Parenting for Paediatricians

National Paediatric Undergraduate Syllabus

View the Syllabus Here


There is considerable variation in the duration, location and content of paediatric attachments for medical students in the United Kingdom. Paediatricians involved in undergraduate education are under pressure to establish paediatric competencies within a shorter timeframe and medical students report uncertainty about where the emphasis should lie during attachments in child health. This is the basis for the development of a common syllabus for child health training.

Continue reading National Paediatric Undergraduate Syllabus

Medical Lead – Centre for Virtual Environments & The Professions

Virtual environments can transform professional education and training.

UCL is the first university in Europe to systematically integrate Immersive Virtual Reality Technology within the curriculum of its professional schools. Continue reading Medical Lead – Centre for Virtual Environments & The Professions

The UN Rights of the Child Project

I wanted to use the United Nations rights of the child as the basis for a piece of artwork on the children’s ward at The Whittington Hospital but as there are over 40 rights I felt this was too many to illustrate on a single piece of work so I needed to narrow this down. I ran a pre-pilot and found that only children in secondary school could rank their own top five. Continue reading The UN Rights of the Child Project


“A belated email to say thank you very much for doing my appraisal the week before last.  As always I appreciated how you stimulate me to think things through.  Thank you for generously giving me your time again and for discussing with xxxx about next year – very much appreciated.

The book is also great – I read it much of the way home on the train!” Continue reading Feedback