President’s address to our Admissions Ceremony – 22nd November 2019

We held our final Admissions Ceremony for new Members and Fellows at Bute Hall in the University of Glasgow on Friday 22nd November.
College President Professor Jackie Taylor led the celebration – here’s the text of her full address to our new Fellows and Members.

President’s address to our Admissions Ceremony – 22nd November 2019

We held our final Admissions Ceremony for new Members and Fellows at Bute Hall in the University of Glasgow on Friday 22nd November.
College President Professor Jackie Taylor led the celebration – here’s the text of her full address to our new Fellows and Members.

“Days like today are high points for all of us. I hope that today will be memorable for you, for all of the right reasons and that you will look back on this occasion with great happiness and fondness. This is a day of celebration, a day set apart from the usual hustle and bustle of life a day of joy, at a milestone achieved, a hurdle crossed. It is a day of celebration for the College as we welcome many new members and fellows. And it is a day of celebration, not only for you as our diplomates but for your friends and family many of whom are here today Your success is in many ways their success; they have supported you through your journey here and so I would ask you, in keeping with College tradition to stand, turn around and show your appreciation!

You now belong to an inspirational global community of doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals of over 14,500 in 94 countries -and growing in size and in influence. You have joined this community either because of your success in examinations which are recognised as the gold standard around the world, or in recognition of your contributions to medicine and standing as a clinician. You have joined a College founded in1599 by a surgeon, a physician and an apothecary-possible the first medical multi-disciplinary team in the world, and it was founded to set and improve the standards of healthcare. That is still our core purpose. We are proud of our incredible heritage, but we are not chained to it. We are a College delivering for 21st Century medicine and surgery and the challenges that they bring.
We are a community which is passionate about providing the highest possible standards of care for patients, Your College will help you to do that by providing education, particularly e-learning increasingly valuable training, assessments and lifelong learning. But we are so much more than that, the College is a force for good, speaking up for our profession, listening to the profession while always remembering that our patients must lie at the centre of everything that we do. Our strength lies in our independence, our common purpose and our shared values.

My hope is that in addition to this being a memorable day that it acts as a springboard for your future, at whatever stage of training or career you may be. I want you to feel excited by the many choices and opportunities that lie ahead of you- for they are infinite. As Nelson Mandela said:

“There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”.

Some of you will be capable of living extraordinary lives. We cannot all be great, but we can all be good, and we can aspire to be the best possible version of ourselves. With your ongoing hard work and commitment, and the support from the College who knows what you might achieve.
As Roy Bennet said:

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know and capable of more than you can imagine”.

The landscape of medicine is going to change dramatically over the next couple of decades “Disruptive technology” or “digital disruption “will impact on all of us and has the potential to do enormous good. The pace of change is unprecedented. It is staggering to think that 90% of children now starting school aged 5 will work in roles that currently do not exist. Isn’t that an incredible thought? Einstein said:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

so we need to use a different approach. Augmented and virtual reality will complement more traditional teaching and learning methods, Artificial or collaborative intelligence has potential to support, not replace decision making and to play a huge role in diagnostics and many other fields. Big data will give us enormous power to help us answer research questions and improve patient outcomes. Genomics and precision medicine will let us deliver truly patient centred care. These are incredibly exciting times-we shouldn’t be fearful of these momentous advances-rather we should embrace them. Be assured HCPs will not become redundant. There will always be a key role for us-providing compassion, advocacy, empathy, guidance.

My three main priorities as President of this College are workforce, wellbeing and inclusivity and these are issues about which we which we are speaking up. New technologies could have a huge impact on the global workforce shortages, freeing up time for the functions that only clinicians can perform. I know given the current hardware and software that we use it is quite hard to imagine a different future. Waiting 15 minutes for your laptop to boot up, having to memorise 5 different passwords for systems that don’t speak to each other- these are some of the joys that those of us working in the NHS have to endure. In fact research from the Mayo clinic has shown that Physicians who find their Electronic Patient records difficult to use are more likely to report symptoms of stress and burnout, so perhaps our IT systems should carry a health warning.

“Physician heal thyself” are words from Gospel of St Luke. Wellbeing of the profession is the second of my priorities. It is under serious threat globally. One third of doctors report burnout, there are high levels of mental and physical ill health, and every three weeks in UK a doctor commits suicide. We are privileged to be with people at some of the happiest and also darkest times of their lives and to be good doctors we need to be with them in the moment. Such pressures on top of unmanageable workloads can inexorably take their toll.

So I strongly urge you, not just to heal yourself, but to actually care of yourself to prevent ill health. You do have a duty of care to yourself. Treat yourself with the same compassion, that you would a patient. Make sure you have the work life balance you need. This College offers a number of resources and events to promote Wellbeing and we will be working with the GMC and Health Boards to ensure that they implement the recommendations from their recent report “Caring for doctors, caring for patients.

Finally I would like to talk to you about kindness-a hugely under-rated quality. It should not be viewed as a wishy washy sentimental emotion displayed only by the weak and faint at heart (though those with a surgical mindset may still take a little persuading). In Barak Obama’s recent eulogy about Elijah Cummings he said:

“being a strong man includes being kind. There is nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There is nothing weak about looking out for others”.

Businesses and services around the globe are now realising the importance, the value of kindness in their organisations. What do we mean by kindness? I like this definition “the things that people do for one another ( both practically and emotionally) in response to moments of perceived need, when there is the option to do nothing”. Kindness is not about grand gestures; it is embedded in the small-scale, the mundane and the everyday. It is subjective, it carries potential risk, but it has the potential to be a powerful component of the infrastructure of any organisation. It leads to a happier workforce, higher job satisfaction, improved safety and better outcomes. Kindness as a value, and the value of kindness. So watch this space-kindness is coming-why not be an early adopter?

In closing then remember that wherever you are in the world we are your Collegiate home, we are your community you are a member of our team. We are here to support you throughout your long and successful careers so stay involved, stay connected, and let the College help you to become that very best version of yourself.

Ladies and gentlemen, fellows, members and honoured guests, I am delighted to welcome you to our Admission Ceremony, here in the beautiful surroundings of the Bute Hall. Today is a celebration of achievement and success a time for reflection and a time to contemplate what lies ahead. I am very much looking forward to meeting all of our new diplomates.”


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