Dr Mark Taubert, a palliative care consultant and clinical director for palliative medicine at Velindre NHS Trust, has won the prestigious BMA Cymru Wales/BMJ Clinical Teacher of the Year Award for 2017.
He picked up the award at The Clinical Teacher of the Year Awards, held at National Museum Wales on March 29. The award recognises clinical teachers who have excelled in their work, supporting doctors in training and medical students in Wales.
The judges were particularly impressed by the quality of nominees this year and commended Dr Taubert specifically for his teaching style.
In his role as educational supervisor, Mark has given junior colleagues the words, insights and vocabulary to express an aspect of life that we would often rather avoid talking about, but that, at some point, affects us all.
His engaging approach has had a positive impact on his students and ultimately the patients they have gone on to support.
As a clinical teacher, Mark regularly uses modern cultural references as a starting-point for difficult conversations that have significant educational and emotional impacts on others. In January 2016,
Mark spoke about the death of David Bowie to inspire discussions amongst trainees, terminally-ill patients and their relatives, as well as on palliative care ward rounds with senior house officers and registrars, in order to help them all in better understanding the nature of the illness.
Mark wrote an open letter, which initially acted as a good-bye and ‘thank you’ note to Bowie, but transformed to include aspects about Mark’s own life and those of his patients.
The letter went on to incorporate the aims of palliative care in general, capturing some of the big topics in “end of life” care, including the extent of medical intervention wanted by patients coming to the end of their lives, and the ways trainees would need to conduct difficult conversations on this issue for the benefit of patients themselves.
Mark’s letter was re-tweeted by Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son – his only interaction with the wider world immediately following his father’s death.
Dr Philip Banfield, BMA Welsh Council Chair, added: ““Dynamic clinical teachers are key to the delivery of high quality training for our doctors throughout their professional careers. The quality of clinical teaching in Wales is a clear reason for doctors to make Wales their preferred choice to complete their postgraduate training.”