Think about the non-clinical skills you are developing as well as the clinical ones.
Think ahead to your forthcoming rotations and think about what skills and knowledge would help you to deal with the typical challenges you might face in that specialty.
You will create a much better impression if you start your rotations well prepared and it will be less stressful.
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Talk to and observe people
Talk to and observe people already in the specialties to get an idea of what you should expect and what will be expected of you.
Make time to go and meet people, even if it is only for a quick chat over coffee, starting with fellow foundation trainees already working in that department.
This has the added advantage that the people in that department will know you already when you eventually get there.
Reflect on your experiences
Reflect on your experiences by asking 'What could I learn from this that will make me a better doctor?', about everything you see and do throughout your foundation training.
Think about the non-clinical skills you are developing as well as the clinical ones. Learn as much as you can about every specialty you encounter even if you are fairly sure you will never pursue this specialty yourself.
Difficult situations happen - think about what you could learn from it that will make you a better doctor.
When you have to work in multidisciplinary teams with doctors from this specialty in the future, your understanding of them will help you to work together more effectively.
Apply the question to extra-curricular activities too. Everything you do has the potential to make you a better doctor if you are prepared to look for the learning. Getting into the habit of doing this will also make life a lot easier when it comes to applications and interviews.
Learn proactively by identifying what you need to work on most and actively arranging your own learning.
Ask yourself: what type of learning works best for me?
Think about whether you may want to arrange extra observations or go on courses that can help you build up essential skills that will last throughout your career.
Seek regular feedback
Seek feedback regularly from everyone you work with.
Getting feedback helps you to identify key areas to focus on in your learning and development.
Don't just depend on the formal feedback from your supervisors and assessors. Getting more feedback will help you to identify key areas to focus on in your learning and development.
Once you have something in particular you need to practice, ask someone to observe you and give you specific feedback.
Use your e-portfolio
Use your e-portfolio as a tool to help you continuously record and evaluate your progress and to help you plan your own learning and development.
Don't be one of the foundation doctors who puts off updating their e-portfolio until it is too late to get anything useful from the process. Start your good habits early, start your e-portfolio as soon as possible.
Check out our e-learning module, maximising your portfolio, for junior doctors