Day in the life of an F1
As a newly qualified FY1, typically each day has something new to offer. I’m currently based in care of the elderly, spending my time with a fantastic team of people and facing new challenges daily…
Each day starts with a full board round of every patient, where we discuss recent results and more importantly discuss discharge plans. As the FY1 my role usually entails shouting out the significant blood results and chipping in with and titbits of information I have managed to glean from family members. From there, we divide and conquer, each taking a handful of patients, for which we are responsible that day (being on a well-staffed ward makes all the difference!).
As the clinician responsible for those patients, it is our job to ensure jobs are done and discharged letters prepared in advance, with TTO’s written early to avoid delays. Often this means you have 4 or 5 letters to prep in a day, which seems a lot but makes your life easier in the future! We are also responsible for updating families and the nearest and dearest, and asking the difficult questions when there is no clear plan surrounding resuscitation. While it was daunting initially, being able to have these conversations early on does allow for a good rapport to be formed between patients and staff and makes the journey a lot more pleasant for everyone involved. Believe me, the difference it makes when you remember a relatives name is amazing.
One of the biggest challenges I’m sure every FY1 faces is learning to trust your clinical judgement and having the courage to implement a plan for a patient. Things like prescribing laxatives will induce panic, as will the thought of being around a patient with a EWS of anything more than one. Despite feeling like you will never be able to do it, the confidence and competence will grow exponentially in those first few weeks and suddenly you will find yourself wondering why you worried in the first place. For example being called to an unwell patient on the ward with an increasing oxygen demand and tachycardia (that was just me, not the patient) and feeling like a fish out of water, I managed to call on the 5 years of training and issue some basic management until senior help arrived. Thankfully the patient survived. That is certainly a personal highlight.
But the most enjoyable part of FY1 so far? (And no it’s not the wage, though that is glorious) Is being part of a team and being able to make a difference to real lives, even if it’s something as minor as holding a patient’s hand while you speak to them, or helping to make a bed when there’s a lull in the day. Those small interventions that we don’t consider to be of value are often the most valuable to patients and their families, and are what make the job special.