The Buddy System

What is it?

An informal system set up to offer support to new trainees moving to the region, starting in anaesthetics, or returning to work following a career break.

Trainees are paired with a more senior trainee if new to the speciality – or equivocal level trainee if new to the region. Those returning from career breaks are paired with a trainee who has had similar experience – e.g. returning after maternity leave or a period of ill-health.

Ideally buddies are paired depending on geographical location and hospital if possible.

How does it work ?

The buddy is given the e-mail address, name and grade of the trainee they are to buddy with. They then make contact to see if any help or advice can be given.

Hopefully the new/returning trainee will then respond – a face to face meeting can be arranged if felt appropriate, but generally communication is via e-mail or telephone.

The amount of support is variable and up to the individuals to establish.

What are the aims?

The buddy system is there to try and give new trainees a peer with whom they can communicate regarding any problems they may have.  The buddy can guide them in how training in the northern deanery works and how training within the speciality of anaesthesia occurs.  Tips regarding revision, books, exam preparation and courses can be given.  For trainees new to the region advice regarding different hospitals and information regarding life in the North East can be shared.  It is there to support anyone new in a friendly non-intimidating manner.  Should an individual require further support the buddy should know the people to refer to within the Northern School of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine?

The buddy scheme for those returning work is being set up to help trainees who have had a career break.  This is usually for maternity leave or ill-health. Returning to work after such a career break and a life changing event can be difficult – often the fear of the return can be more of a challenge than actually getting back to work.  We hope to ease this by allowing an individual to share their experiences and provide any tips and support for those returning to work-be they full or part time.

All new starters will be given a buddy as will those trainees new to the region.

Those returning to work will be contacted and offered the option of having a buddy – some individuals may have had more than one career break from work, so be confident and comfortable returning for a second, or third time!

What does the buddy system rely on?

We rely on trainees volunteering to be buddies and providing that initial communication with new trainees – being friendly, approachable and supportive! We all started life as new starters – try and remember how daunting and confusing at times it can be!

Who to contact if any questions?

Currently the buddy system is organised by Dr Elaine Winkley, Senior Trainee Email