Our International Clinical Fellowship Programme (ICFP) offers clinical fellowship training to doctors from outside Ireland who are sponsored by their government, hospital or national training body.
We recently spoke to Dr Huda Al Dhanhani, who completed the two-year ICFP in July 2018, and Prof Karina Butler, Consultant Paediatrician and Infectious Diseases Specialist at Our Lady's Children's Hospital and an ICFP Trainer, about their experiences of this training programme.
Can you tell us about your experience of the RCPI Clinical Fellowship Programme?
I joined the International Clinical Fellowship Programme in Paediatric Infectious Diseases in RCPI because it is an organised programme that covers the basic needs that any physician interested to continue his or her career path in paediatric infectious diseases will require in the future.
I enjoyed the different exposures in the clinical field, as well as the exposure to clinical labs including my elective observership in the virus reference lab in UCD and the microbiology lab in Temple Street Children’s Hospital. I also got a brief exposure to the sexually transmitted diseases in the Guide Clinic which I would highly recommend the next fellow to do.
Living in Ireland was a nice experience for me and my family. We explored the country and culture and we had a very nice impression, as the people were very kind and welcoming and we didn’t face difficulties when support was needed.
I returned back to United Arab Emirates after two years of the ICFP and I am currently working as a specialist in Paediatric Infectious Disease with Consultant privileges which allows me to apply what I learnt in my training in a higher level of responsibility.
I am very optimistic that the field of infectious diseases in UAE will grow bigger and bigger. I am planning to develop more research in the field, as well as local guidelines and an infectious diseases community with the support of our wise leaders.
What do you miss about Ireland?
I must say in the end, although I have returned to my mother country, I miss my desk, my colleagues, my lovely nurses and all the corners in Our Lady's Children’s Hospital.
I am glad I had the experience to work with pioneers in infectious diseases in Paediatrics including but not limited to Prof Karina Butler, Dr Patrick Gavin and Dr Ronan Leahy.
They provided me guidance, support and thought me the steps to be a practitioner, a teacher and a researcher.
Why do you think Ireland is growing in popularity as a training destination?
Ireland is an English speaking destination with a reputation for excellent clinical experience and a friendly work environment.
Why did you become involved in the ICFP?
I recognised it as an opportunity to bring additional manpower to the department, combined with the challenge of providing subspecialty training. I also knew that the introduction of fellows trained in a different environment would contribute to the learning and experience of all of us in the department.
What key benefits has your involvement with the ICFP delivered to your department/clinical team?
It has broadened our understanding of, and respect for, training in other countries and of other cultures. It challenged us to justify our current practices and ensure delivery, in as far as possible, of evidenced based medicine.
On a practical basis, it provided additional excellent clinical manpower within the department - it was very helpful to have the extra clinical hands. Dr Dhanhani contributed hugely to the service delivered.
I enjoyed getting to know the individuals on the ICFP, seeing them grow in confidence, mature medically, and then settling into new roles in their own countries.
The ICFP offers a unique opportunity to develop professionally as a doctor and learn advanced skills that will be especially beneficial for the health service in the doctor's home country.
The programme is offered over one or two years of clinical training, after which the doctor is required to return to their country of origin. In certain circumstances, the period of training may be extended to three years.
Contact Dale for information about our International Clinical Fellowship Programme. She is responsible for Recruitment to the International Clinical Fellowship Programme.
Contact Danielle for information about our International Clinical Fellowship Programme. She is responsible for Post Interview/Site Management. She looks after the current ICFP trainees.
Contact Lauren for information on the Joint Residency Training Programmes. She is responsible for Recruitment to the Joint Residency Training Programmes and Post Interview/ Site Management. She looks after the current JRTP trainees.
Contact Louise for information about our International Clinical Fellowship Programme. She is responsible for Post Interview/Site Management. She looks after the current ICFP trainees.
Taimse manages all matters relating to the International Clinical Fellowship Programme and the Joint Residency Training Programme.