Supporting those returning from a break in clinical work

People need to take a break from every profession, but those returning to clinical work can face particular challenge.

The London School of Paediatrics recognised this, and developed a course designed to make the transition easier.

What is the course?

The London School of Paediatrics recognised the need to better support and prepare doctors returning to clinical work following a break in training for maternity leave, research, out of programme for clinical experience or for personal or health reasons. Using feedback from a course piloted for doctors in paediatric training returning to practice from maternity leave and guidance from the Royal Academy of Medical Colleges, the Paediatric Return to Acute Clinical Practice (PRACP) course was established in 2014.

The course has been designed to encompass high fidelity simulation, practice and training updates, advice for doctors in less-than-full-time and academic training and the provision of peer mentorship and support. The course is also offered to other members of the paediatric multi-professional team in acknowledgment of its value to allied health professionals and as a means of enriching the simulation training for all participants. It takes place three times a year across different London simulation centres in an attempt to offer places to all those returning to work.

What does it introduce?

The one-day course was designed and predominantly led by doctors who have all taken time out of training themselves and so understand the difficulties in transitioning back to clinical practice. A key issue for many is anxiety and lack of confidence in dealing with acute emergencies. It is recognised that a break from clinical practice can impact on clinician performance and patient safety.

Collaboration with the London School of Paediatrics simulation network and their trained faculty has allowed provision of high quality simulation training to improve knowledge, self-confidence and awareness of human factors prior to returning to the clinical environment. The course also focuses on key updates in paediatrics so participants are aware of changes or new initiatives in clinical practice, signposts doctors to mentoring and coaching support within London as well as discussing methods of improving well-being and resilience in the workplace.

Combination of simulation and workshops

There are four simulation scenarios covering common paediatric emergencies organised so that everyone has the opportunity to both participate and debrief and so that their simulated role and level of seniority reflects the position they will be returning to. Parallel workshops cover a wide range of aspects:

  • new advances/practices in acute paediatrics
  • using a return to work checklist to inform educational supervisor meetings
  • providing a refresher on using e-portfolio and completing work-place based assessments
  • mindfulness, fostering well-being and how to juggle family life and paediatrics
  • practical advice on job-sharing, rotas and pay
  • combining research and clinical training.

Throughout the day there are also opportunities for one-to-one mentorship, signposting to useful allied courses and information on how to access mentoring support following return to work.


Improved confidence and preparedness

Feedback has been consistently excellent with participants reporting the simulation sessions make them feel more prepared and confident about returning to clinical work. The course is considered to provide a good balance of clinical, practical and pastoral elements. It is relevant to all levels of training (participants have ranged from ST1 to consultants) as well as offering a valuable opportunity to network with others. A number of course participants have gone on to become part of the faculty and are able to share their own personal experiences and advice.

Potential for adoption

The principles of this course are relevant to all specialties and health professionals and can be adapted to their specific requirements and needs.

I want to learn more

For further information, contact Dr Trisha Radia at

Who is this page for?
This page is relevant to anyone who needs to support doctors in training who are returning from a break.
Why might this page help you?
Helping those returning from a break transition quickly helps them re-adjust and enables them to make positive contributions more quickly.