With a new wave of foundation doctors filling the wards, GMC clinical fellow Dr Muj Husain reflects on what it is like putting learning into practice.
It’s that time of year again – foundation doctors are just starting their new jobs and the wards will be filled with nervous newcomers. Making the leap from student to doctor can be a bewildering time. I remember feeling a mixture of anxiety and excitement.
Of course, you will come across situations where you don’t know what to do or you feel out of your depth. You may even have had that feeling today. That’s a normal part of being a doctor in training. My top tip for new doctors is to remember you’re never alone – doctors work as part of a team and there should always be people to support you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it.
The beginning of a new job, whether you’re a foundation year 1 (FY1) or a consultant, is also a good time to remember the principles underpinning what we do as doctors. I’d be surprised if the majority of new foundation doctors had read Good medical practice (GMP). But it is an essential guide to what’s really important and it underpins everything we do (as well as reminding us why we do it).
You can read the full guidance on the GMC website.
‘Good medical practice in action’ also provides excellent online case studies, which help to bring the guidance alive. For example, there are really useful scenarios on how to stay safe on social media or what to do when a colleague is underperforming (there are over 70 further topics and each has a few scenarios to try out).
Being a doctor is an incredibly rewarding career. But as new doctors you will all have seen the day-to-day news stories about poor patient care following the terrible events at Mid Staffordshire. We’ve all been reflecting on what went wrong and what our responsibilities are when we see poor-quality care. While I think the vast majority of care the NHS provides is excellent and no one goes in planning to deliver poor care, sometimes it does happen. All doctors have made mistakes and it’s important to be open and honest when things go wrong. But there could be wider issues, such as a system problem or cultural issues leading to poor care. Some of you may see poor care or patient safety risks. It’s never easy knowing what to do and how to respond, especially when you’re the most junior member of the team. However, it is everyone’s responsibility.
- The GMC has recently issued a helpful flowchart to guide you through how and when to raise a concern.
- There’s also a confidential helpline available for any doctors worried about patient safety: 0161 923 6399.
As you’re getting used to your new jobs do take the time to read GMP – it’s the key document on our duties as doctors. We will be asking doctors to share their tips with us in our Twitter chat from 12–1 pm on 6 August. You can follow the conversation on #GMCchat. We hope that doctors in training will ask us some questions too.
I wish you good luck with your new jobs and I hope you enjoy being a doctor as much as I do!