Hamish Clark recently graduated in medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is one of many who has applied for the NHS’s Foundation Interim Year 1 (FiY1) posts - a newly created role for final year medical students who can be fast-tracked onto the frontline to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here he talks to the RSM about the application process and preparing for the post.
We were told about the FiY1 programme by our medical school, and I’ve also been checking the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) website for updates. On their website they’ve published a useful document which outlines important details about the FiY1 programme including its purpose, the timeline for recruiting final year medical students into the programme, employment arrangements and what the roles and responsibilities may include.
To apply for the FiY1 programme, I had to fill in a survey. It asks for your personal details and we had to express whether we wanted to work for a trust associated with our medical school or with the foundation school that we have been allocated to start with in August.
I received notification from the GMC on Wednesday that I have been granted provisional registration with a licence to practise, so I am now waiting to hear from my foundation school, hopefully in the coming days, and ready to start working.
To help prepare, our medical school has recommended a free online module on COVID-19 from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which has been really useful in gaining a good understanding of the disease.
I’ve also bought the Oxford Handbook for the Foundation Programme which is a great compact book and has useful concise information on all the emergencies we might encounter as FY1s. As well as this, SCRIPT - an eLearning programme on prescribing, therapeutics and medicines management - have produced a good module on COVID-19, as well as other useful modules on prescribing which will undoubtedly be helpful as FY1s.
In terms of my expectations for the job, I think it will be similar to the FY1 role we will be commencing in August. We will be note-taking, ordering investigations, carrying out procedures such as venesection and cannulation, prescribing under supervision and completing discharge summaries.
However, the main difference is we’ll be doing this under more supervision than would be expected of an FY1 and it has been recommended that we are ‘buddied’ with one or two foundation doctors. Also, it has been suggested that it may be better to deploy FiY1s in areas unrelated to COVID activity.
One of the pieces of advice that has been reiterated to me during medical school, and especially during my final year, is that you should never be afraid to ask for help and that it is very important to know your limits as a junior.
Going into the hospital in the near future and entering the NHS during this time of crisis, this is something which I’m going to anchor myself to and I think it’s important for all juniors to remember this in the early stages of their careers.
I was anticipating 2020 to be one of (if not the) biggest years of my life. Two months ago, my plan was to get through finals, celebrate results day with my friends, go on an elective in Uganda for seven weeks, come back to the UK and get married to my fiancé, and then go on a three week honeymoon to Borneo before starting work in August.
It’s amazing how much can change in two months. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on all our lives, and it seems it will keep on having a huge impact for months ahead.
Although this year is certainly not panning out as expected, now that I have graduated as a doctor and we are seeing on a daily basis the strain this pandemic is putting on the NHS, I am keen to get stuck in as soon as possible and do what I can to help.
I am of course nervous, but I am also excited to put into practice what I have been preparing and working hard for these last four years. I want to start making a difference.
Hamish Clark finished a graduate-entry medicine degree at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2020. Prior to this, he studied chemistry at the University of Bristol and worked in healthcare communications for a year.