Senior IMG doctors share their top tips for starting out in the NHS.
Take your wellbeing seriously
- To avoid becoming overwhelmed, make sure you have regular breaks throughout the day and book in regular holidays.
- If you are busy, see whether you can find a colleague to help – and in turn, return the favour when they are busy.
- Remember to stay calm and professional, both in person and in writing – particularly in communications around patient information.
- Never feel embarrassed to ask questions, however trivial the topic may seem to you.
- You should be respected and treated kindly by others.
- If you are having difficulties with another member of the team, try and resolve this informally initially but if this is unsuccessful, raise it with your seniors.
We have a range of services to support you.
- Peer support
- UK wellbeing support directory
Call our free and confidential helpline on 0330 123 1245
Get into good habits at work
- Handover time is known to be a high-risk time for patient care, so make sure you are prepared and communicate all the key points for each patient, so that nothing is missed by the incoming team
- Try to avoid abbreviations where they may be confusing. Minimise the use of jargon when speaking to patients.
- Where possible, volunteer to sit in with consultants or senior trainees during difficult consultations - eg breaking bad news, before doing so yourself.
- Keep your own record or eportfolio of clinical cases, courses attended, certificates, exams and reflective practice.
- If you identify a more efficient way of doing things, volunteer to lead change within your department after discussing it with your seniors and nurses.
- Make sure you obtain constructive feedback on how to become a better doctor from those working around you.
Think about your career development
Be proactive when things go wrong
- Working in the NHS can be difficult and stressful, with things happening extremely quickly. It’s important to know where to turn when they don’t go to plan.
- Speak to a senior colleague to identify where things could have gone better and, if a patient was involved, whether to approach the patient with a colleague.
- Remember, saying sorry does not mean that you automatically did something wrong.
- If you have been asked to write a statement, contact your medical defence union for advice. They can review your statement and make sure it is appropriate. Write a reflective practice and keep it in your e-portfolio.