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  • Writer's pictureDeniz Eroglu

Tips for Your First Day as a Junior Doctor

Hi, my name is Dr. Siddharth Sunil. I am an IMG, graduated from the Charles University in Prague.

First day as a junior doctor in the NHS can be a nerve-wracking experience. It maybe due to the stress to fulfil the expectations, adapting to the new clinical environment or even due to long periods of being out of touch from clinical practice after medical school. This article/blog will dive into a few tips which can help you as a junior doctor to face the dreaded first day of work and also prepare yourself for certain situations.

Know what to expect

As they say, first impression is the best impression. Similarly, making a good first impression is very important in order to gain trust from your colleagues and seniors as well as showing them that you are a responsible individual. You should read the job description carefully and also communicating with your seniors is key in understanding as to what is expected of you. Know who your rota coordinator and line manager are, as they will provide you with all kinds of information needed upon induction.

Get to know the team

Getting to know your team and getting familiarised with their names is of utmost importance and this will help in more effective communication. There usually will be a formal introduction when you join but if not, make sure you take the effort to introduce yourself to everyone and know the individuals in your team by name and also their roles. If you are polite and respectful in your approach this should not be a problem.

Organisation is very important

As a junior doctor, you are not expected to take over the most complex or challenging cases. Being a junior doctor is all about being organised. Organise your patients, know what jobs need doing and get them done in the time you have been allotted. Also, avoid misplacing your jobs list as it may complicate everything for you.

Have good presentation and be punctual

Being presentable is also a very fundamental aspect during work. Most hospitals need you to wear scrubs and for others, a semi-professional attire is enough. Whatever the option, present yourself better. Especially, do not forget to change scrubs on a regular basis. Good and comfortable shoes are a must as a junior doctor, due to a lot of walking inside the hospital to complete the assigned tasks. Walking shoes are recommended, as formal shoes could probably be uncomfortable to walk with for prolonged hours. Arriving late for your first day at work is a very bad look and should be avoided at all costs. Plan your commute the day before in order to reach the hospital on time or even earlier.

Do not hesitate to ask

Most junior doctors are hesitant to ask questions to clear their queries. If you have any doubt regarding the instructions assigned to you, how to properly conduct a procedure etc; never be afraid to ask your seniors for help, regardless of how silly you feel it is. All of them are very supportive and helpful. It is better to know precisely what is needed to be done at the cost of just asking, rather than doing the incorrect thing altogether.

Good sources for revision

Due to the inactivity post graduation, you may forget certain basic concepts and feeling of unpreparedness could set it. In order to tackle this, going through certain books to brush up your fundamental concepts and practical knowledge is suggested.

Some good books are:

  • Oxford Handbook for the Foundation Programme

  • Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

  • Oxford Handbook of Clinical Diagnosis

Escalate early to seniors

Escalate the patients to seniors if you are too worried or unaware as to what is to be done to manage the situation. The seniors don’t mind that. It is also beneficial for the patient as the problem can be managed faster by someone more experienced.

Do not hesitate to handover

Do your best during the shift but when it’s officially time for you to depart, you should hand over (unless you are not exhausted and voluntarily plan on staying back). Exerting yourself too much on the long run can be detrimental to your health and also your decision making as a doctor.

Enjoy yourself and seek help if needed

You’ve worked your whole career to get to this point. It’s one of the most important days of your career and naturally it is possible for this moment to be overshadowed by feelings of apprehension. But relax yourself, take one day at a time, enjoy each day and cater to your own physical and mental wellbeing as well. If you require any sort of assistance, do not hesitate to contact your consultants or anyone else in the team.

How TrewLink can help

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