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What is the TUF Warrior programme?

The Urology Foundation (TUF) Warrior programme is designed to support core trainees, clinical fellows and foundation doctors interested in urology. It creates opportunities to develop extracurricular interests, connect with patients, boost applications for specialty training and have a break from a busy work life. The programme raises money for TUF to support their commitment to patient care, education and research to end the suffering caused by urology disease.

Applications for core surgical and specialist registrar training is a competitive process with a significant reduction in training numbers this year. Both applications give credit for extra-curricular activities, outstanding charity achievements and commitment to specialty. Prizes and committee positions can also give those crucial extra points in the portfolio station. These things can be difficult to achieve alongside demanding jobs, on-call rotas and exam preparation.

The TUF Warrior programme gives trainees an opportunity to come together with like-minded colleagues to achieve something outstanding, having fun in the process! There is experience of organising events, patient education and representative roles to contribute towards the excellent charity work that TUF do whilst increasing skills and credentials and demonstrating a commitment to urology.

The training progression within the NHS can be long and tough, with increasing numbers of doctors feeling ‘burnt out’ or choosing to take career breaks. Resilience is important and a healthy work / life balance is key to career longevity. Participating in such activities is a refreshing change from training that has parts which feel like an increasingly arduous tick box exercise.

“The TUF Warrior programme gives trainees an opportunity to come together with like-minded colleagues to achieve something outstanding, having fun in the process.”

What do the TUF Warriors do?

‘TUF Warriors’ can participate for 6-12 months with specific individual and team goals. Each person can choose how and when to fundraise, customising their involvement to suit their needs. By enabling them to set their own targets, from getting fit to raising awareness, they can play to their strengths or choose to develop new skills.

The TUF Warriors can earn bronze to platinum awards depending on the events they participate in and the money they raise. Planning and completing such activities demonstrates leadership qualities, organisation capabilities, and communication skills. It also shows motivation and enthusiasm for the field they wish to pursue.

How are they fundraising?

Recruitment to the Warrior programme is done via the TUF website page, which explains how to sign up and what is involved. The message has also been spread via word of mouth and social media. After signing up, trainees can link up with others to organise collective events, either within their area or be a part of bigger campaigns.

Highlights so far have included the ‘Big TUF Dinner of the Year’, with some excellent culinary skills on display simultaneously across the country. Who knew our surgeons-to-be would be dapper hands at cutting and chopping? There have been personal successes with half-marathons conquered. Cake sales are coming, as well as a wine and gin tasting event – a surefire way to loosen a few purse strings in the name of charity. There are more athletic challenges coming soon: the Olympic Park 10km run, the Birmingham Half-Marathon, and the Barcelona Marathon in our sights. There is even a team of trainees who organised their whole urology department to participate in ‘Movember’. Whilst the consultants enjoyed their 80s revival, no doubt their patients questioned whether they had inadvertently walked into a Tom Selleck lookalike competition.

Each Warrior has set up their own everydayhero.com fundraising webpage. Donations all contribute to a collective TUF Warrior pot. Social media savvy trainees are using all manner of platforms to publicise their events – from Facebook to Twitter and beyond, the support is coming through thick and fast.

The TUF Warrior programme is excellent in promoting trainee enthusiasm, utilising capable people to advocate for a worthy cause – a cause which they will be a part of throughout their careers. It not only stimulates personal improvement but develops leadership qualities and shows a wider commitment to urology beyond the clinical environment.

If you would like to become a TUF Warrior yourself, search for ‘TUF Warrior’ online, or if you would like to support our current TUF warriors, visit:

www.theurologyfoundation.org


Comments from Luke:
For foundation doctors, core surgical trainees and clinical fellows please consider getting involved with this fantastic initiative from The Urology Foundation. It takes small amounts of enthusiasm, time and energy to achieve something amazing as a group. Good luck!  For everyone else – this is the future of urology. Please dig deep and support the outstanding efforts being made by these trainees in the name of charity.
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CONTRIBUTOR
Mark Yao

Currently working at the urology department at the Whittington Hospital, London. Mark held his own ‘Big TUF dinner of the Year’ and is training for the Olympic Park 10k run to further raise money for the TUF Warrior programme.

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