Study leave is a precious and limited resource for trainees. There are many fantastic and interesting conferences and courses to attend but limited time and funds to do it. So, how do you choose which conferences to go to?
Well, I can tell you why the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress is the only conference that a trainee needs. Why choose between multiple, single topic conferences when you can have a bit of everything? As a core trainee at my 4th international congress, here are my top 3 reasons why every trainee should attend the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress.
Reason 1: It’s a brilliant networking opportunity!
Firstly, the International Congress is a fantastic way to meet new people and also to catch up with old friends. You will find anyone and everyone at the Congress! You might even find yourself casually mingling at the coffee station with an eminent expert clinician or researcher or bumping into the President of the Royal College on your way to a session. You might also meet carers, service users, psychologists, occupational therapists, medical students and doctors of all levels. The relaxed, open atmosphere and inclusive environment means that everyone is welcome. It is also great for catching up with those former colleagues you lost contact with after you rotated jobs. And, of course, you never know what opportunities might open up through connections you make at the Congress.
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to bump into Louis Theroux!
Reason 2: There are sessions specifically for trainees
“Ok, but what if I hate networking?” I hear you scream. Well, don’t worry, we have something for you too. Did you know that there are sessions specifically for trainees? This year, for example, there’s a talk on research training including the top ten tips for success in clinical research for trainees. There is also “The Mess”, the student and trainees lounge that holds various events throughout the Congress specifically aimed at trainees. This year, these include meeting the chief examiner, a Q&A session with the college officers and an e-portfolio troubleshooting demonstration.
It’s also a quiet place for a coffee break!
Reason 3: You can showcase your work!
Lastly, there is one very good reason to attend the International Congress; poster presentations. You know those audits that you dedicated hours of your precious time to? Well, the International Congress is a great place to showcase your work. With hundreds of poster board spaces, daily rapid-fire oral presentations and prizes for the best pieces of work, this is a fantastic opportunity for trainees. Plus you get a certificate for your portfolio too, and we all know trainees love a good certificate!
Taking a photo of you posing by your poster is optional but recommended
So, there you have it, 3 reasons (of many!) why every trainee should attend the International Congress and if you aren’t persuaded yet, well, come along and see for yourselves!
For more info on the RCPsych International Congress and other college events: check out their website https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/ and their twitter account @rcpsych
You can also hear more from me on twitter @nashburner and instagram @thementalhealthdoctor