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ith a student body of close to 3,000,
RCSI's Career Development Programme
provides structured support for, and
management of, the future careers of
our students at the Schools of Medicine,
Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Postgraduate Studies.
Fionnuala Rahilly, Career Development Manager, spoke to
RCSI Matters about how the programme assists students
to make critical decisions in terms of what they want to
do and where they wish to pursue it.
Since being appointed 18 months ago, Fionnuala has
established a programme that is predominantly focused on
the needs of final and senior clinical students. Offerings have
included mock interview preparation, elective planning and
medical board exam supports, with lessons learned to be
incorporated into offerings for earlier years. "The initial focus
on final and senior clinical students has been strategic in that
they are the ones that needed support most urgently."
Development of an online portal called CareerHub is
underway with an expected launch and introduction to
students in academic year 2015/16. "We are dealing with
digital natives so their first port of call is to go online."
However, Fionnuala says, there is no guarantee about the
quality or timeliness of the information they are sourcing. "I
want to establish a one-stop shop where students can get
reliable and accurate sources of information. Key for me is
building a labour-market profile for the desired destinations
where our students wish to pursue postgraduate training
and where they ultimately wish to work."
The portal will also advise of the challenges that face
students planning to work abroad, exploring the entry
requirements of specific regions and helping students
manage those requirements. Additionally, CareerHub will
offer personal development templates containing basic tips
on how to set smart career goals, getting students to think
about managing the blocks of time required to reach their
Last year, the RCSI Mentor Network was established as
a professional development tool to enable final year/
senior students to engage online with alumni. "I believe
this is a differentiating tool for our students because, to
be successful in their careers, they need to develop that
professional network and the best way is through alumni.
Senior and final year students can go online to search for
an Alumnus in a discipline and country of their choice and
submit their query directly.
"I am always keen to hear from alumni from all countries
and disciplines who would like to join our Mentor Network.
In particular, I am keen to hear from alumni who have
graduated within the past five to eight years, as they are
ideally placed to provide timely advice and direction."
Fionnuala is in the process of developing a continuing
professional development (CPD) element for the RCSI
Mentor Network, that will give the mentor the opportunity
to earn CPD points.
Biennially, RCSI hosts an international medical careers
symposium. Its next symposium is scheduled for Dublin in
2016 and Fionnuala is currently seeking medical speakers
from its extensive alumni for the event. "Earlier this year we
had speakers talk to students about postgraduate training
options in the following countries: Australia, Malaysia, Malta,
Canada, the US, the UK and Ireland. Students really like the
opportunity to meet people personally and to hear about
post-graduate training options for particular jurisdictions."
Fionnuala adds that she is exploring additional engagement
opportunities for alumni such as teleconferencing or round
table discussions. If you would like to assist with developing
healthcare leaders of the future, please make contact in the
first instance by email:
Users' verdicts on the benefits of the network
"The mentor network is a great resource for networking
with RCSI graduates in the US. I used it to get in touch
with physicians who had worked at places where I had
rotated on my electives to get invaluable information
about the culture and local customs of the hospital as
well as general advice based on experience on how
to do well on the elective." Brian Lee, USA, Medicine
graduation class of 2015
"As a final year medical student, I find alumni to be an
invaluable source of information and advice regarding
postgraduate training opportunities. In my opinion, the
extensive network of alumni across the globe is one
of the College's strongest assets. The RCSI Mentor
Network allowed me to contact past graduates directly
and get practical advice and knowledge that helped me
plan my postgraduate career path." Sarah Schimansky,
Germany, Medicine graduation class of 2015
"The RCSI Mentor Network is an invaluable tool for
students in their senior clinical years. It allows students
to interact with RCSI alumni around the world and
explore the opportunities available to them after
graduation." Cassandra Townsend, Canada, Medicine
graduation class of 2015.
Supporting future
career success
Fionnuala Rahilly, Career Development Manager, RCSI.