ACF without AFP? (academic clinical fellowship without academic foundation programme)

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document35
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Hello friends,

I've was rejected this year after interview for an AFP post (more details below*). I really want to do research (have enjoyed it thus far at medical school), go into academia/pursue an ACF post- so I have some questions that I'd really appreciate some advice for from my colleagues/seniors.

1 - Is it difficult to get an ACF post without AFP? What can I do now to improve my chances?

2 - Are there any practical steps I can take as an F1 to be more involved in research/have similar opportunities in what I miss as a non-AFP student?

3 - Are there any apps that people use to organise their portfolio? (e.g. looking IMT/ACF websites they have many headings that I'd like to use to guide my portfolio structure)

Sincerest thank you to everyone!



*Interview: Unfortunately, I did pretty poorly in the interview (I had been late-shortlisted 3 days before the interview so I didn't have much time to prepare but I think I'm generally terrible at interviews)
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document35
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How can I get someone to see this thread lol
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huy
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1 - Is it difficult to get an ACF post without AFP? What can I do now to improve my chances?

Having done AFP is by no means a prerequisite for doing ACF. A lot of senior people (those interviewing for ACF) don't even know what AFP is! What matters (depending on the post) is the achievements and skills you can bring. In terms of improving your chances, getting first author original research publications, prizes and presentations (ideally relevant to your specialty of interest) is key. If you want an ACF, go for it. Don't worry about not having AFP.

2 - Are there any practical steps I can take as an F1 to be more involved in research/have similar opportunities in what I miss as a non-AFP student?

Find someone who is doing research that you can get involved with that will lead to publication or other output. Do this early, ideally before starting F1. Be realistic about time. Frankly, if you don't gain a new skill or output, it's not worth your valuable free time. Interview panels don't care about vague research project involvement that didn't lead to anything unfortunately. I don't really think you're missing out on anything. A good foundation programme is better than a bad AFP and the latter are fraught with downsides.

Be strategic. Don't get involved in lots of audits / teaching that do not give you points for your specialty application. Early in F1, plan a two-cycle audit using PDSA to max out points for this aspect of your portfolio.

3 - Are there any apps that people use to organise their portfolio? (e.g. looking IMT/ACF websites they have many headings that I'd like to use to guide my portfolio structure)


I'm not sure what you mean by this. The portfolio is a big paper folder. The website tells you how to organise it, you print it out and put it under the headings they suggest. Not much to it!

Apologies if some of the above sounds cynical. You are going to be spending a lot of your own time, unpaid, getting all of this together. I think it's horrible how much is expected out of hours from trainees just to get basic achievements for career progression. The stuff that is actually built into training is a waste of time unfortunately. The compulsion to complete audits is wasteful of time and resources and they don't often lead to changed practice or better patient care. Just be strategic. If you are serious about academic career then PUBMED indexed papers are currency.
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fishfacesimpson
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AFP is not a prerequisite for ACF but it does open avenues to beef up your CV and gain some experience that is helpful. These are available without afp though. I'd suggest settling into f1 for a few months then finding people to speak to, in terms of getting involved in projects etc as well as local departmental audits. In terms of contacts just ask around but ACF and clinical lecturers in the region can be a good way to make contacts
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(Original post by huy)
1 - Is it difficult to get an ACF post without AFP? What can I do now to improve my chances?

Having done AFP is by no means a prerequisite for doing ACF. A lot of senior people (those interviewing for ACF) don't even know what AFP is! What matters (depending on the post) is the achievements and skills you can bring. In terms of improving your chances, getting first author original research publications, prizes and presentations (ideally relevant to your specialty of interest) is key. If you want an ACF, go for it. Don't worry about not having AFP.

2 - Are there any practical steps I can take as an F1 to be more involved in research/have similar opportunities in what I miss as a non-AFP student?

Find someone who is doing research that you can get involved with that will lead to publication or other output. Do this early, ideally before starting F1. Be realistic about time. Frankly, if you don't gain a new skill or output, it's not worth your valuable free time. Interview panels don't care about vague research project involvement that didn't lead to anything unfortunately. I don't really think you're missing out on anything. A good foundation programme is better than a bad AFP and the latter are fraught with downsides.

Be strategic. Don't get involved in lots of audits / teaching that do not give you points for your specialty application. Early in F1, plan a two-cycle audit using PDSA to max out points for this aspect of your portfolio.

3 - Are there any apps that people use to organise their portfolio? (e.g. looking IMT/ACF websites they have many headings that I'd like to use to guide my portfolio structure)


I'm not sure what you mean by this. The portfolio is a big paper folder. The website tells you how to organise it, you print it out and put it under the headings they suggest. Not much to it!

Apologies if some of the above sounds cynical. You are going to be spending a lot of your own time, unpaid, getting all of this together. I think it's horrible how much is expected out of hours from trainees just to get basic achievements for career progression. The stuff that is actually built into training is a waste of time unfortunately. The compulsion to complete audits is wasteful of time and resources and they don't often lead to changed practice or better patient care. Just be strategic. If you are serious about academic career then PUBMED indexed papers are currency.
Thank you this is brilliant!
I'll look into emailing some people (at the hospital im due at) re audits - would you mind telling me what PDSA is?

My plan was precisely to get involved with as many things as possible but thanks for shedding light on the points-focused strategy. Grateful.
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(Original post by fishfacesimpson)
AFP is not a prerequisite for ACF but it does open avenues to beef up your CV and gain some experience that is helpful. These are available without afp though. I'd suggest settling into f1 for a few months then finding people to speak to, in terms of getting involved in projects etc as well as local departmental audits. In terms of contacts just ask around but ACF and clinical lecturers in the region can be a good way to make contacts
Thank you!
Does it matter (re points) what type of an audit it is?
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(Original post by document35)
Thank you this is brilliant!
I'll look into emailing some people (at the hospital im due at) re audits - would you mind telling me what PDSA is?

My plan was precisely to get involved with as many things as possible but thanks for shedding light on the points-focused strategy. Grateful.
PDSA is plan-do-study-act. It is a type of quality improvement methodology that specifically scores points in applications like IMT. Only quality improvement done this way scores more than 2 points if I remember correctly. I would look up the scoring for applications for the specialty you want to do.
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(Original post by huy)
PDSA is plan-do-study-act. It is a type of quality improvement methodology that specifically scores points in applications like IMT. Only quality improvement done this way scores more than 2 points if I remember correctly. I would look up the scoring for applications for the specialty you want to do.
That's great I will look into it. Didn't realise it has be specific type of audit. Will have to look into the finer details of the other sections too then. Appreciate your advice, Huy.
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(Original post by document35)
Thank you!
Does it matter (re points) what type of an audit it is?
Moving away from the points issue.... Do something that interests you and where the solution isn't just creating more paperwork which the majority of NHS audits do. Much harder than you think
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(Original post by fishfacesimpson)
Moving away from the points issue.... Do something that interests you and where the solution isn't just creating more paperwork which the majority of NHS audits do. Much harder than you think
That is ideally what I'd like to do, but as you've said it's quite hard so I need to find a way to get around that rather than solely pursuing points (which it could end up as, unfortunately)
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(Original post by document35)
1 - Is it difficult to get an ACF post without AFP? What can I do now to improve my chances?
As above - you can definitely get involved in projects without AFP time. Its only 3 months isn't it? Not exactly a lot - if they go into a lab project there's likely no publication in that for them.

Having said that the time is useful and they can sometimes get first pick of projects. My wife was an SHO really interested in doing this project that was very career-orientated for her, but instead it was given to an AFP F1 who wasn't interested in that career direction at all just because he was the AFP. He then proceeded to miss all the deadlines and ****ed it up for everyone including the seniors, so pretty annoying.

I actually got into ACF without AFP and without any publications! I did have a lot of independently-initiated and run audits and non-publishable research though.

2 - Are there any practical steps I can take as an F1 to be more involved in research/have similar opportunities in what I miss as a non-AFP student?
Just that if you don't ask you don't receive. If you're after publications you will need to be prepared to put the hours in, but also be careful which projects you pick. Make sure the end goal is in sight.

3 - Are there any apps that people use to organise their portfolio? (e.g. looking IMT/ACF websites they have many headings that I'd like to use to guide my portfolio structure)
Apps lol? Its literally a list of headings - what would an app offer?

Yes it is a good idea to have these in mind when CV building though. As discussed above, unfortunately they have weird criteria and its quite possible for a terrible, 3 hour project that has no impact/even a negative impact to score all the points, whilst a great project making a real difference scores very low.

My advice is to do a small targeted project that ticks the boxes, then once free of that 'pressure' you can take on actual meaningful projects that will sounds good in an interview and actually help your colleagues and patients. No need for these to be initiated by seniors - I did at least 5 audits/improvement projects that I just did because I thought it would be useful based on what I was seeing on the ward (none of them taking very long).
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(Original post by nexttime)
As above - you can definitely get involved in projects without AFP time. Its only 3 months isn't it? Not exactly a lot - if they go into a lab project there's likely no publication in that for them.

Having said that the time is useful and they can sometimes get first pick of projects. My wife was an SHO really interested in doing this project that was very career-orientated for her, but instead it was given to an AFP F1 who wasn't interested in that career direction at all just because he was the AFP. He then proceeded to miss all the deadlines and ****ed it up for everyone including the seniors, so pretty annoying.

I actually got into ACF without AFP and without any publications! I did have a lot of independently-initiated and run audits and non-publishable research though.



Just that if you don't ask you don't receive. If you're after publications you will need to be prepared to put the hours in, but also be careful which projects you pick. Make sure the end goal is in sight.



Apps lol? Its literally a list of headings - what would an app offer?

Yes it is a good idea to have these in mind when CV building though. As discussed above, unfortunately they have weird criteria and its quite possible for a terrible, 3 hour project that has no impact/even a negative impact to score all the points, whilst a great project making a real difference scores very low.

My advice is to do a small targeted project that ticks the boxes, then once free of that 'pressure' you can take on actual meaningful projects that will sounds good in an interview and actually help your colleagues and patients. No need for these to be initiated by seniors - I did at least 5 audits/improvement projects that I just did because I thought it would be useful based on what I was seeing on the ward (none of them taking very long).
Thank you so much, this is so useful.
Would you mind me asking how can find out which projects score the points?
Secondly, so then is correct to assume that audits don't have to be published to gain the points (and just one full cycle)? I don't know much about audits!
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(Original post by document35)
Thank you so much, this is so useful.
Would you mind me asking how can find out which projects score the points?
Secondly, so then is correct to assume that audits don't have to be published to gain the points (and just one full cycle)? I don't know much about audits!
Google. For example 'IMT scoring' = https://www.imtrecruitment.org.uk/re...cation-scoring

It explains how things work there. The only caveat is that they do change the criteria quite a lot, but as I say, if you're trying to tick boxes it is useful to refer to.
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(Original post by nexttime)
Google. For example 'IMT scoring' = https://www.imtrecruitment.org.uk/re...cation-scoring

It explains how things work there. The only caveat is that they do change the criteria quite a lot, but as I say, if you're trying to tick boxes it is useful to refer to.
Thanks, nexttime!
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