Advice for new ST4s

Welcome to the joys of Respiratory Training in North Cental and East London! All of the information on this site will be useful for you as a new ST4. In addition, here are some top tips from recent/current Respiratory SpRs in North East London:

  • Understand the ePortfolio thoroughly
  • Plan ahead for your ARCP well in advance. The requirements for an outcome 1 have become more stringent, and most of the demands come from above so the panel has little discretion. Get assessments done early, and use this logbook to record everything – procedures, bronchs, clinics, NIV experience, etc
  • Encourage every supervisor to help you plan your career and training. They all have relevant experience and advice. Take the lead in making sure your meetings are more than just opportunities to tick boxes on the ePortfolio
  • Try to set targets for each year, above and beyond the curriculum requirements (ie WBPAs) and stick to them e.g. 1 conference abstract, 1 publication (however small e.g. case report, letter, rapid response, Thorax Journal Club), 1 audit/QIP, 1 teaching session with written feedback.
  • Make crib sheets for your clinic cases prior to starting ST4 ie reminder of essential questions/investigations/treatments for each disease based on guidelines (see resources for some examples to get you started)
  • Start your USS logbook and come up with a plan for sign-off as soon as possible.  Pick a course that will help support sign-off and not just teach you the basics of how to do it (see resources for examples of courses).
  • Attend BTS Summer early on in your training as it prepares you with knowledge at a trainee level
  • Think about whether you want to do an OOP (out-of-programme) EARLY (ST4 if possible). OOPR in particular takes a lot of planning and due to workforce management it is necessary to provide at least 6 months notice. Find more info on the pages on research and medical education.
  • Don’t feel pressured into doing things just because everyone else is. If you have no interest in a career in academic medicine then you don’t need a PhD. Your energy may be better spent contributing to an ongoing project, joining a BTS committee or doing a really high quality QIP project. Speak to other trainees about what they are up to.
  • Hang out with the rest of the trainees after training days and get advice from the more senior ones, particularly on career planning, OOP, and what the posts on the rotation are really like.
  • Take a day or half day of study leave here and there to spend time learning in smoking cessation clinic, lung function, with respiratory physiotherapists etc.  Start this training early and document through reflections or DOPs.
  • Sign up to contents alert emails for the major respiratory journals to help keep up to date (see research page for more tips).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions (to Consultants and to other SpRs) – you can’t be expected to suddenly become a respiratory specialist overnight!
  • There are several useful apps that will make your day to day life easier – examples are in the resources section.

We look forward to seeing you at training days and really hope you enjoy your training. If you have any questions, have a look at the FAQs, and if that doesn’t help, grab us in the corridor or get in touch. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll usually know who will! We’re here to help so don’t hesitate to contact us.



  1. Pingback: News and opportunities | Resp NET - August 6, 2017

  2. Pingback: News and opportunities | Resp NET - January 19, 2019

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