Bulletin 121, May 2020

From the Editor, Dr Helgi Johannsson

Welcome to the May issue of the College Bulletin

I thought my inaugural editorial on taking on the Bulletin would be a nice easy uncontroversial one, but as I write this, London has emptied, pubs have closed,  and we are currently in a lockdown.  I hope that by the time you read this we will have passed through the worst of it, and there may be a glint of optimism on the horizon.  As I am currently recovering from what is almost certainly the COVID-19 infection itself, thankfully in a mild form, I sympathise with those of you who have become infected. 

I thought long and hard whether to press ahead with the publication of the Bulletin – all of the articles were written before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and I wondered whether anyone would be interested in a bit of normality this spring? After consultation with a colleague I thought it was right to go ahead, as the theme of the articles is relevant whether there is a pandemic or not. In fact some of the articles on resilience, kindness, and updates on the new curriculum will be even more relevant in the pressured and very unfamiliar environment we are all currently working in. I love Jamie Strachan’s point about not just tackling bullying, but encouraging and rewarding positive behaviour – it’s not enough to tackle negative behaviours if we don’t have a model of positive behaviours we can measure against. 

One of the interesting observations on the current crisis is how changes that would normally take months or years to implement are being processed in days as we are all getting used to the ‘new normal’.  The article on remote educational supervision reminds us how even a year ago the idea of never meeting your educational supervisor face-to-face would have been unthinkable, whereas now it just seems logical. 

I would like to thank David Bogod not only for his outstanding performance as editor of the Bulletin, but also for his encouragement, sagely advice and humour when handing over the reigns. I promise you I will still use him as a fountain of ideas and suggestions in the coming months and years. I want to build on what he has achieved and continue the mix of updates, articles and the occasional controversial opinion piece (and thanks to Professor William Harrop-Griffiths for his piece on making difficult airways easier). I’d also like to add more patient viewpoints, and make the Bulletin easier to share over social media by integrating it into our website, as we move inexorably from print to online reading.

Finally as I recover from my infection and prepare to start a rolling shift system for the foreseeable future I want to tell you all to pause for a moment, and say thank you to those people who have made your last couple of months tolerable and appreciate that we are truly privileged to work in this amazing specialty.