Molly shares her experience working with patients as an interim foundation doctor (FiY1) and what it’s like communicating with empathy in a mask.

In March 2020, I set off for my medical elective in New York. I was so excited for the two months ahead of me and felt like it was the greatest reward for having made it to my final year of medical school. However, two weeks later, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was on a plane home.

I had a whole mixture of emotions: disappointment to have missed out on the trip of a lifetime, relief to have made it back home to friends and family and very quickly, uncertainty about what lay ahead. With returning to medical school no longer an option, just two weeks after arriving home, I was faced with the option to graduate early and to start work in the NHS. Although this was a daunting prospect, I was sure that it was what I wanted to do. I instinctively wanted to help those that were more vulnerable than myself and with the skills that I had gained from medical school – this was the best way to do that.

Stepping straight into FiY1

Fast forward a few weeks of filling out forms, reading through contracts, throwing homemade mortarboards in the air and moving back down to the south-west (where I would be starting my FiY1 placement), I stepped onto the wards for the first time as a doctor.