What is Soft Landing? Supporting international medical graduates – with Dr Sharmila Manivannan

Soft Landing is an organisation which provides support for international medical graduates who are new to the NHS. Dr Sharmila Manivannan talks about what Soft Landing offers - from workshops and events to mentoring support!

Dr Sharmila Manivannan is a ST5 paediatric trainee, working in Cambridge; she previously completed her training in India, and began working in the NHS as a clinical fellow in 2019. She is going to start her subspeciality training in paediatric neurology.

What is Soft Landing?

Soft Landing is a non-profit voluntary organisation that was founded by Nadia Baasher and Habab Easa, two paediatric trainees, as a group to provide support for international medical graduates (IMGs) who are new to the NHS.

What does Soft Landing do?

We run workshops, webinars and induction programmes to help support our IMG colleagues transition from their country of origin to the UK; for example, our face-to-face sim workshop allows IMGs to practice those challenging patient conversations or dealing with difficult colleagues etc. Our GRID application and interview webinars are well received every year. We work closely with the RCPCH, who have been very supportive and has endorsed some of our events.

Why is Soft Landing important?

There are many differences with how things are done, coming to a new healthcare system. This is why we run an “Induction to the NHS” event twice a year, to go through things like importance of documenting, managing first on-call in paediatrics and neonates and how to do SBAR handovers, which someone starting new in the NHS might not be aware of. We also provide support for clinical MRCPCH exams, ST3/4 interview preparations, GRID applications, and importance of developing a portfolio for career progression including CESR workshops. Team Soft Landing provides professional and personal mentoring to IMG colleagues new to the NHS.

What is your involvement with Soft Landing?

I’m the Regional Rep for the East of England deanery, and my role is to support IMG doctors in the deanery, organising and publicising webinars, transferring information, making educational recourses leaflets and networking. Soft Landing has published a handbook for IMGs for smooth transition into NHS.

How can I get involved with Soft Landing?

If you’re an IMG looking for support from your local deanery, you can email: [email protected]

You can find more information from the Soft Landing website: https://www.soft-landing.org/ and Twitter- @paedsoftlanding

If you know any IMG paediatric trainees who haven’t heard about Soft Landing, please do help to spread the word!