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Judith Cave
Judith Cave
Medical Oncology

Dr Judith Cave is a Medical Oncology Consultant and Associate Director of Medical Education at University Hospital Southampton (UHS). She is the holder of a Research Leaders Programme (RLP) award.

Her RLP research focuses on improving the training UHS delivers to medical students and junior doctors, and growing the trust’s reputation as an excellent educational institution.

Increasing our profile nationally

Judith has been a consultant at UHS since 2009. Before coming to Southampton, she worked as a teaching fellow and honorary lecturer at UCL in London. During her time at UCL she developed skills for researching medical education and saw first-hand how research can transform the learning environment for the better. 

Since moving to Southampton she has performed clinical research projects into lung cancer and neuroendocrine tumours, and she sees the RLP as a fantastic opportunity to establish an interest in medical education research

Alongside her role as a Medical Oncology Consultant, she is Associate Director of Medical Education. This involves spending one day a week overseeing the training UHS delivers to medical students and junior doctors. Judith applied to the RLP to develop a program of research into the trust’s medical education, with the aim of making it renowned across the UK.

“We're a good training institution,” she says. “In fact, we're an excellent training institution. We get good feedback on our GMC (General Medical Council) survey and we get good feedback from our medical students, and we have a faculty of highly skilled and inspirational educators. But I have a feeling we haven’t reached our full potential yet.”

“I want to make it more known that Southampton is a great hospital for teaching and learning. I want to increase our profile nationally as an educational institution, by innovation and evaluation and research. That’s my goal.”

New joined up approach

Judith hopes to build the existing educational research at UHS into a collaborative and cohesive body of work. She will primarily do this by building collaborations. The first step will be to work more closely with the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Medicine.

“There's the hospital and there's the university, and both are doing education,” she explains, “and we work together on that, but we don't have a joint program of research. So my first goal is to set up a joint program of research with the university.”

Together with her mentor at the university, Prof Sally Curtis, Judith is already supervising a Fellow investigating how the trust can better support its junior doctors who are international medical graduates.

The next step will be to establish external collaborators and to apply for funding to ensure the research is sustainable for many years to come. 

She hopes the programme of research, by better supporting their training and development, will attract the best students and junior doctors, and mean more of them choose to stay and work at UHS permanently. 

“The evidence is that a strong learning environment improves job satisfaction and hence recruitment and retention," she says, "and that means better care for our patients.”

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