I decided to take the approach of ‘go with the flow and don’t think about all there is to panic about’. That mindset seemed to work well.
I showed up for work an entire hour early – the idea being that I could make sure I knew all the patients on my ward before the ward round began. That seemed to be a fairly good idea.
The ward round went well, although it’s difficult keeping up with everything the consultant says while also jotting down all the jobs that need to be done. This led to a bombardment of questions to the registrar and nursing staff once the ward round had finished. Thankfully, they were very supportive.
Then came the balancing act. While one has all the jobs to do from the ward round, my ward (coronary care unit) has a particularly high turnover rate and so there are always discharge letters to write. I’m not sure how well I balanced these, but I’m sure I’ll learn.
My first prescribing came today too, in the form of warfarin. That was stressful. Different paperwork at different hospitals didn’t improve matters, but I think I figured it out in the end. The challenge of electronic prescribing for most regular drugs is something that’s going to take a while to get used too – but luckily, everyone in the hospital is in the same boat there.
So, after trying to get all the jobs done and as many discharges as I could manage, I got out of work a mere hour and twenty minutes after I was supposed to. I’ve got that strange worry that I may have missed something, but my registrar seemed happy enough!
I cannot say that my first day went well, nor can I say that it went badly, but it just went. I survived and I am grateful for that.
Matthew Langford, foundation doctor 1 at St Mary's Hospital, Newport
Tell us about your first days as an F1. Were they a balancing act, a breeze, or simply scary?
You've articulated well some of the things I've found challenging in these recent weeks. I'm also on a high-turnover ward, and still haven't found the solution to how to juggle ward jobs and discharge summaries so that everything gets done on time.
Working on a gynae ward means I'm not prescribing anything too scary - mostly analgaesia and anti-emetics. I wouldn't have enjoyed having to prescribe warfarin on the first day!
I am also blogging about my experiences of my first days as a doctor, at www.tryingtobeajuniordoctor.blogspot.com