Advice for new junior doctors


Let me start of by introducing myself I am a final year medical registrar who has got a consultant job in the national health service after ten years as a junior doctor in england.

I look eagerly at the next generation of foundation year one doctors in england and would like to impart some wisdom for what I think constitutes the attributes of being a good FY1.

    1. Keep calm whatever happens work through your A-E approach, keep your pocket handbooks near you for advice on-call, read through guidelines and ask your seniors for advice.
    2. Keep organised. Keep a jobs list. Keep a list of request cards to fill in requests quickly. If you don’t understand the reason for a request-ask.
    3. Keep communicating. Communicate with your colleagues, communicate with nursing staff and other allied healthcare. Communicate with patients and relatives. Practice this vital skill from the beginning.
    4. Keep up-to-date with your portfolio. Carve out some time to look at the your educational needs and come to your supervisor with ideas of where you want to go and what you want to do.
    5. Familiarise yourself with your enviroment know where radiology is, where endoscopy is, who to talk to get investigations done quickly. Who co-ordinates MDT’s etc. Understand your bleep system.
    6. Take your lunch breaks . Your productivity will increase if you keep yourself hydrated and nourished( not with junk either-healthy combinations of food!)
    7. Plan your holidays in advance you need to look forward to a break when the going gets tough. Find out how much leave you are allocated and get in quickly at the start.
    8. Practice patience. Healthcare systems are stressful environments because we are dealing with one of the most important aspects of being a human.Remind yourself why you got into this profession this usually helps. Even mundane tasks-such as being doing discharge summaries all ultimately are in the patients best interests.
    9. Be positive. It’s a great profession. Despite what people say, it is still a well paid,well-respected job. It can be hard at times but through hardship you build strength that impacts all area of your life.
    10. This builds on from point 9, try to steer away from overtly negative people. There are a lot in the health industry who can’t find anything good about anything they do. I find it useful to keep a filter on these sorts of people you need to work with them but they don’t need to spoil your day.
    11. Practice building your memory. This is such a huge asset in the healthcare setting due to the workload of patients you may have. Having a great memory is a great asset. There is research to suggest that like any skill can be improved upon. What I have found works is to get emotionally invested in your patient, not to the point it burns you out but on a deeper level than just their medical problems.
    12. Keep your friendships and outside interests ongoing. I kept my friendships strong with fairly regular meetings. I kept going to the gym I always was into physical health and the regular exercise kept my sanity in check.
    13. Be friendly,approachable and a worker. These qualities above any medical knowledge will get you far in life. If you have these qualities you will find that you will go far.


These are a few tidbits that I can pass on during my decade of being a junior doctor. I am happy to answer any queries or questions that arise from this blog. It can be a very daunting experience starting a new doctor but the points above should hold you in good steed.

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