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iRefer trainee scheme summary sheet


What is iRefer?

iRefer is a set of guidelines produced by the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) that provide guidance for clinical referrals to radiology. Guidelines are drafted by consultant radiologists known as Editors and are validated by panels of consultant radiologists recruited from relevant Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

What is the iRefer Trainee Scheme?

The iRefer Trainee Scheme is a proposed enhancement of the current iRefer Guideline Review process that aims to make the process more efficient and evidence-based by recruiting trainee radiologists to assist with reviews of relevant literature.    

It is anticipated that the scheme will be incorporated into the existing iRefer Guideline Review processes once the current review has been completed later this year.

What will be the specific role of trainees in the iRefer Guideline Review?

Trainees will be assigned to an Editor and will work within their own chosen sub-speciality of interest (see the summary sheet below for the full list). The role of the trainee will be split into two main tasks:

  • The trainee will regularly run top-level searches of literature, looking at the quantity and significance of any new published evidence that is relevant to their assigned guidelines. They will then discuss their findings with the Editor. This is to ensure that the decision-making process about which guidelines to prioritise for review next is rigorous, evidence-based, and efficient. The searches will be run using the existing search protocols that have been drafted by the Editors and utilised in the formal literature reviews by information specialists.
  • Once a guideline has been selected for review and a formal literature review has been conducted by an external agency, the trainee will compose an executive summary of the results of the search. This executive summary will then be added to the beginning of the evidence document which is provided to SIG panellists during the guideline review process.
  • The maximum time commitment for trainees is expected to be up to approximately half a day per week. However, there is flexibility within this, and the final time commitment will be decided on a case-by-case basis following discussions with successful candidates. In the situation that there is more than one satisfactory candidate for the specialities to which the most guidelines are assigned, we may also take on multiple trainees (up to a maximum of 3 per subspeciality), which would further reduce the time commitment.

See the summary sheet below for details of how the trainee’s tasks fit into the wider iRefer review process.

What support will the trainees receive?

Oversight will be provided to trainees by the Editor to whom they have been assigned, and who will also act as their supervisor. This oversight and support will include discussing the results of the top-level literature searches with the trainee and reviewing the executive summaries produced by the trainee, as well as signing off an assessment on the trainee’s Kaizen portfolio. The Editor will provide any required guidance and answer queries from the trainees when required. The Editor will also ensure that the trainee has access to the SIG panel lead, in case they require any further specialist input or advice.

See the summary sheet below for details of how the trainee role fits in with other iRefer roles. 

What are the benefits of the iRefer Trainee Scheme?

  • Trainees will gain valuable experience in their sub-speciality of interest on a project that has national and international implications.
  • Trainees will gain exposure to and the opportunity to become familiar with the most up-to-date literature in their sub-speciality of interest.
  • Trainees will have opportunities for networking with senior consultant radiologists.
  • Trainees will receive membership of their chosen SIG’s iRefer panel (though not in a guideline review capacity) and the opportunity to take part in iRefer Guideline Reviews as a full Panel Member as soon as they qualify as a consultant radiologist.
  • An audit task/assessment will be signed off on the trainee’s Kaizen portfolio. 

How to apply

The roles are open to all trainees at level ST3 or above. A brief CV and cover letter (250 words max) should be sent to irefer_content@rcr.ac.uk. The deadline for applications has now been extended to 20 October 2023.

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