“I can restart your heart – but I can’t code an app!”

Part-time student Zen Gashi looks to modernise medical professional development

Zen Gashi

Senior Physician Dr Zen Gashi is on a mission to improve the way career development is monitored and evidenced for medical personnel.

Zen Gashi

Dr Zen Gashi is a senior physician studying a part-time Masters in Medical Education at the University of Cambridge. His research involves interviewing doctors working and training in Emergency Medicine to investigate the current “e-portfolio” method of logging personal and professional development information for medical staff.

 “When you do 12 hour shifts in the Emergency Department, or in any other Medical or Surgical specialty, you're absolutely tired and exhausted,” says Zen.

“You really cannot remember what you had to eat, let alone what you what you've learned from patient X, who you saw at the start of your shift.”

Herein lies a huge problem for doctors’ career development, as the demanding schedules of frontline staff leave little to no time for self-evaluation tasks, which are required to provide evidence for promotion and career progression.

“There is the expectation from the Royal Colleges and the General Medical Council to complete documentation for professional development at some time, but where that time is, nobody knows!”

There (should be) an app for that!

Zen’s eureka moment came when discussing the issue with his colleagues after a shift, all of whom were multi-tasking and using their phones at the same time.

“Seeing everyone checking their phones, I thought to myself, why isn't there an app that we can use to document our professional development?”

This app could enable doctors to conveniently log their experiences and build a record to support their skillset, which is important information for career progression. It could also bring key stakeholders closer together around relevant information in real-time, including staff skills and experience, activity logs, and HR support.

 “One of the most important things that I think would come out of this, is the improved relationship between the trainee, the trainer, and the Royal College,” says Zen.

But there are also significant benefits for skills assessments and patient safety: “Let's say you're one of my new junior doctors: I want to know, can you run a resuscitation, or do I have to come back in at 3am to supervise you? I could simply check on your skill set on the app to help me make that decision,” he adds.

Collaborations at Wolfson

Zen is one of a group of 30 part-time students who visited Wolfson College for the Special Study Week at the start of August.

“The opportunity to meet up with other fellow students in this week who are doing different degrees in College has been a godsend,” says Zen. “I know how to start your heart, but I don't know how to design an app; so, I think that the opportunity to talk to someone else who has a different view or who is now at the end of their research on this area is just great.”

“It's also been a welcome opportunity to get together one last time after three years of doing your degree and reminisce about the good old times; whilst punting with Pimms (do remember your sun cream though!)” says Zen.

“Had it not been for this special type of study, I would have just simply submitted my dissertation and be done with it. It would probably have ended up in a drawer somewhere and left to accumulate dust, so I’m grateful to Wolfson for that!”

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Quick links: Part-time study, Special Study Week