As the latest cohort of newly qualified doctors start their first jobs today, RMBF Trustee Dr Ted Adams shares his top tips for starting out in medicine.
Look after yourself. It can be dangerously easy to miss a break, skip a sandwich, or get too little sleep – and it soon catches up with you. Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your patients and colleagues. Don’t be a hero – have some lunch!
Look after each other. Taking the time to check on your fellow new doctors will always be greatly appreciated. The Foundation Doctors are a team.
Pockets. You can never have too many pockets. Or hand bags. Or man bags. Pens and hand gel are needed 24/7. Plus your phone for the odd bit of Googling!
Make friends. Whatever your role, a supportive group of colleagues is absolutely vital. It can be daunting, but remember everyone else could do with a friend too and they don’t have to be a doctor.
Ask for help. Everyone has a first day and every doctor, at every level, asks for help. It’s the only way we get better and learn. If someone is short with you, don’t let it put you off. Persevere or seek help elsewhere.
If something doesn’t feel right about a patient, or if something seems “off” to you or to a nurse, make sure you act on it. You’ll learn an incredible amount from experienced nurses. And if you’re not happy, see above!
Be honest and open if something goes wrong. Mistakes can’t be remedied or learned from if they’re not acknowledged in the first place. Likewise, make sure you know where to go if something seems wrong. Find out how to raise a concern, as well as what to do if it’s not resolved.
Introduce yourself. Remember #HelloMyNameIs when meeting new patients and new colleagues.
Stay hydrated, especially in the current weather!
And most of all…
Enjoy it. There’s no doubt that a career medicine can be tough, but ultimately it’s incredibly rewarding. Be proud of the work you do and the people you help.
The support we offer
RMBF Trustee Dr Ted Adams has led the trainees committee at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and worked regionally at Strategic Health Authorities. In 2016 he appeared in the Channel 4 documentary series One Born Every Minute in his role as Senior Registrar at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Follow Ted on Twitter @DrTedAdams