Messly: a trip advisor approach to training

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­­­An anaesthetic trainee in North West London has launched a ‘Trip Advisor’ for NHS training placements in hospitals, to help medical students and junior doctors make evidence-based choices around their careers in the NHS.

Messly is an online community for junior doctors and medical students, which features 5-star ratings – Trip Advisor style – for rotations across the country using over 80,00 ratings from junior doctors from the annual GMC survey 2016. On top of this, doctors are reviewing their placements to share information on what those jobs are really like to work in, and tips for future trainees.

Dr Abrar Gundroo, a trainee anaesthetist in the London Deanery and co-founder of Messly, created the website after feeling that there was too little information available when deciding on training and specialties. He wanted to use evidence to inform his decision around the specialty he applied to and the locations he chose.

Gundroo says ‘I felt like choosing my rotations was almost a random process. I was guided by snatched conversations with older peers, hearsay and the stereotyped views of a department or hospital. In reality there are great differences between the quality of rotations within departments and hospitals. Messly has made it possible to see what other junior doctors think of their placements at different training levels in different departments in hospitals across the UK. So instead of relying on outdated generalisations you have the facts about what you are applying to.’

Abrar brought his old school friend, Chris Kurwie, to help turn his goal of transparent training in the NHS into a viable business. With a background in law and finance, Chris was shocked by the lack of information available to doctors in choosing their careers. ‘Doctors make evidence-based decisions when treating patients, but then were left without the information they need to do this for their careers. In the corporate world, you use sites like Glassdoor to find the inside scoop on roles, company culture and pay – so I was shocked to see that nothing existed for doctors. So we set about to change that.’

Abrar adds that ‘a consequence of this is that all over the country there are junior doctors who are unhappy in their placements. This leaves you feeling demotivated, unsatisfied and compromises your wellbeing. Messly will allow junior doctors to make smarter career choices, and in turn make happier junior doctors. We aim to begin a process that will improve the system and make it more transparent.’

Elaine Denniss, a senior careers consultant at UCL Medical School who has promoted Messly to students at UCL said “Career decision making is a process akin to clinical decision making.  Good and accurate decisions depend on gathering reliable, multi-sourced information. Messly plugs an information gap, providing medical students and trainees with an easy to use tool to support them in researching, comparing and evaluating training jobs. I envisage using Messly as a valuable resource in my work with medical students and post graduate trainees as part of the career planning process and to support them with their application choices.”

Founded in August 2016, Messly began with the GMC data available through a tool called the Training Navigator. After the initial interest shown by junior doctors, the website expanded to allow junior doctors to leave reviews on their placements.

The project has since gathered support and Messly are part of the Ignite startup accelerator programme and have gained backing from NHS Innovation as part of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs programme.

Having grown the number of registered Messly doctors and medical students to over 1,000, they have started to explore further features to help doctors connect with one another to discuss training placements.

Messly is and always will be free for junior doctors and medical students. To access the Training Navigator and reviews you must register, as Messly wants to ensure that this community remains a safe environment exclusive to junior doctors and medical students.

You can join Messly at: www.messly.co.uk.

 

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