by Dr Richard Genever
My life as a movement disorder specialist began in 2006, when still working as an SpR, I received a bleep at work. It was an outside line, the most intriguing of bleeps, which could potentially be something very good but also something very bad. On this occasion it was one of my previous consultant supervisors calling to say that they were moving to another part of the country and would I be interested in applying to take over the post. This was both exciting and terrifying as I knew that I would potentially be taking over the care of a huge number of people with Parkinson’s disease and other disorders.
I set about trying to get as much experience as possible. I attended additional Parkinson’s clinics most weeks and I clutched a review article on the management of Parkinson’s disease close to me at all times. However, I didn’t feel entirely confident in going it alone. This was when I heard about the MasterClass. I had heard good things about it but didn’t know a great deal about how it worked. My interest was further piqued when I received a questionnaire asking me what I wanted to learn – a first for me and a step that set the tone for one of the most formative experiences of my working life.
I enrolled on MasterClass 10, the course being spread over two modules in Falmouth and Troon. In many ways the experience was like walking through the wardrobe and into the world of movement disorders. The emphasis was as much on building networks as on learning about the diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s disease. A number of us were hoping to develop services and there was the opportunity to gain an understanding of the processes.
At the end of the course I felt more confident to be a movement disorder specialist. I always hesitate to use the term expert as a clinic never goes by without the opportunity to reflect on something new. Perhaps more importantly I felt like part of a group. I kept in touch with the faculty and many of my fellow delegates. It meant I had people to turn to for advice and people to catch up with at conferences.
Ultimately those connections led me to become interested in improving the way that we deliver care for people with Parkinson’s disease and I joined the BGS Movement Disorders Section. Initially looking after the website, I moved through various positions and I am now the section chair. Attending the MasterClass opened my eyes and opened doors. I saw the potential in developing networks and the opportunity in working with other specialists to improve education and care.
If you are someone that is likely to work with people with Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders I cannot recommend the Parkinson’s MasterClass highly enough. It might be the spark that ignites something very big in you.