The little differences — sports medicine training in the UK

Dawn Thompson, our Junior Assoc Editor from BASEM, on a UK NICU floor!!!

Our Junior Associate editor from the British Association for Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM)— Dawn Thompson–joins us today with her newest contribution to the CJSM blog. As many of our regular readers know, Dr. Thompson is a sport and exercise medicine (SEM) trainee in the UK and has contributed frequently to these blog pages.

Her blog post today takes up the subject of how different SEM training can be in different sites around the world.  In the USA, where I practice, one gets their primary training in a specialty such as family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or physical medicine & rehabilitation; only then does one pursue one to two years of further specialty training in sports medicine.  New Zealand and Australia follow a very different path, as explained by the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) in their website.

The UK does it their own way, and Dr. Thompson (DT) is here to tell us what that is like as she spends time on the ‘sidelines’ of the…..neonatal intensive care unit!???


DT: It’s been a busy year and a while since my last post. Once again it’s a crazy time of the morning (4am) and I’m in the midst of an unusually quiet 12.5 hour shift on the neonatal intensive care unit wondering how exactly this is going to make me a better sports physician! I’m not sure I have found the answer to that one yet but it has inspired me to think about the current state of SEM training.

Over the last 10-20 years sports and exercise medicine as its own specialty around the world has come on leaps and bounds. The UK Faculty for Sports and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) was set up in 2005 and is the governing body for SEM overseeing the training curriculum in the UK. The system in the UK is quite different to many other parts of Europe and the pathway seems to vary greatly between country and even between different states. Read more of this post


The Exercise Prescription — ‘BASEM style’


Author Dawn Thompson (left) with her siblings, at the end of a half marathon

Readers of this blog will be familiar with Dawn Thompson, a sports medicine physician in training and one of CJSM’s junior editors.

She is UK-based, and a member of the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine (BASEM).  I asked her to give a run-down of the recent BASEM annual conference for the CJSM readership.

What follows is her post from the conference, with a heavy dose of a subject near and dear to our heart — the worldwide physical inactivity epidemic, and how we sports & exercise folks can address this.

From our journal articles to our blog posts, CJSM is committed to putting the ‘exercise’ into the profession of Sports & Exercise Medicine.



Dawn Thompson

Last month I attended the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine Annual Conference – ‘From Plinth to Pitch’. This was an excellently put together series of talks and lectures covering everything from Rio 2016, injury management, the female athlete to even the medical considerations in less mainstream sports of Futsal and disability shooting.

As always with Sports Medicine conferences there was a good mix of medical students, trainees, GPs and Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) consultants. The budding SEM doctor got to learn from and meet the experts they aspire to be while the more seasoned attendees got to catch up with old acquaintances and make new ones along the way. The standout session for me was the discussion on physical activity and how you actually get someone to exercise. This is an area close to my heart that made me feel invigorated and inspired enough to choose this topic as the focus of  my newest blog post. Read more of this post

Getting Published — a “Junior’s” Perspective

dawn thompson

The newly published, Dr. Dawn Thompson

A regular contributor to this blog is Dawn Thompson, who most recently wrote a very well-received post on gender and our profession of sports medicine.  She is a Sports Medicine physician in training and one of our Junior Associate Editors.

I had several CJSM tasks for the day, including preparation for an upcoming podcast with Dr. Lyle Micheli and doing some CJSM peer review, and so I was delighted to find Dawn was ready and able to volunteer her time to share with us this post, penned shortly after her success of having her first manuscript accepted for publication.  Congratulations Dawn:  keep the publications (and the blog posts) coming!


Dawn Thomposon

Yes! I can finally say I have a genuine original article published in my name! More than 2 years in the making and I have to say it has been a fairly frustrating experience! However, thanks to good colleagues and perseverance we have got there.

Back in April 2016, CJSM wrote a blog post following the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine conference on getting published and peer review. This blog provides some excellent further resources, however for those new to the world of research and getting published, here are my top 10 hints and tips to try to make it slightly less of a frustrating experience!

  1. Choose something you are passionate about – you will be devoting a significant amount of time to this topic!
  2. Choose a good supervisor to guide you and a colleague/peer to work with – things are better shared!
  3. It doesn’t have to be something huge or groundbreaking but if fairly novel or of importance it is worth pursuing
  4. Select your journal wisely. Be realistic and target your papers strength to that of the journal you choose. It’s probably worth considering whether or not you want to aim for open access which will likely encounter a fee.
  5. Follow the submission instructions of the journal – sounds simple but all journals have slightly different instructions and may reject your paper if these are not followed.
  6. Check, re-check and triple check your manuscript before submission!
  7. Be prepared to rework large parts of your paper if needed in response to reviewers comments.
  8. If not accepted initially, try to work out why and make appropriate amendments. It may be that the reviewers give comments which you can act upon or it may be that your paper wasn’t right for the selected journal.
  9. If despite best attempts your paper doesn’t get published consider writing it up as a presentation for a conference or as a letter to the editor. It will still look great on your CV and get you points in job applications!
  10. Develop broad shoulders! Don’t take it personally if you do not get accepted right away – journals have set criteria for accepting papers and it might just be yours doesn’t fit these or their current direction. You will get there eventually and likely the finished product will be better for it!


Happy researching!

Sports medicine: a career for all genders?


Dawn Thompson, covering Brighton Marathon

I am pleased to step aside from writing for the blog today and turn over the stage to Dawn Thompson, CJSM Junior Associate Editor and a member of the ECOSEP Junior Doctors Committee.

Dawn and I have a shared background in sports medicine, but she brings a unique perspective to today’s post:  she is a woman, she is young, and she is still in training.  I am none of these things!

If sports is a mirror of society, then it should come as no surprise that in our own professional world we may see phenomena such as gender bias.   And for those of us who benefit from male privilege (me), Dawn’s post is a great reminder of the differential burden our female colleagues may face when trying to perform the same job duties as a man.

Here in the USA, 2016 is a particularly poignant moment in time: the Democratic party’s presumptive candidate for president is Hillary Clinton.  Will that political ‘glass ceiling’ be shattered?  What of our sports medicine colleagues who are women?  Do they face their own glass ceilings?

I cede the dais to Dawn:


DT: It’s 1.30am on a Tuesday morning and I am wide awake. Ideas, thoughts, concepts are racing through my mind at a rate I could only dream of during normal hours. I don’t normally suffer with insomnia but I have just completed a particularly gruelling acute medical block whereby in 4 months I have worked 8 full weekends and a total of 32 nights. So as you can see my body clock is totally up the spout. There have been times when I have wondered why I chose this profession and how compatible it is with any sort of family or social life and times when I have marveled at what I feel can be the best ‘job’ in the world.

During these 4 months, Junior Doctors like myself across Britain have taken part in 6 days of industrial action in response to the proposed imposition of a contract they felt to be unsafe and unfair to patients, themselves and the NHS. One of the many complaints with regards to the new contract was the impact it could potentially have on women taking time out for maternity or to work less than full-time to raise a family. Indeed the governments own equality analysis summarised –

“While there are features of the new contract that impact disproportionately on women, of which some we expect to be advantageous and others disadvantageous, we do not consider that this would amount to indirect discrimination as the impacts can be comfortably justified” 

I have never particularly considered myself a feminist but I do expect a fair contract and I don’t expect to be treated any differently to my male counterparts based on gender rather than clinical acumen.

Data derived from the Health and Social Care Annual Workforce Publication 2014 showed that 57% of all doctors in training are female.  However things have not always been this way, in 1985 the year I was born, women made up only 16% of practicing doctors in the US. Some junior doctors are concerned that an unfair contract would send us backwards in terms of women in Medicine.  Already prior to this new proposed contract, pay inequalities exist in medicine.  A study published this week in the BMJ concluded that women doctors in the US earn less than their male counterparts even after adjusting for hours of work and specialty.

So what about the role of women in Sports Medicine? Read more of this post

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