Dr Shelagh Turvill
It's never too early to start acquiring management skills, which will stand you in good stead for years to come
Fresher or final year, whatever stage you're at, you can start to hone the management skills that you'll need in the big, wide world of work. Start developing good habits now - these skills will never let you down.
As soon as you graduate, others will be looking to you to make clinical decisions and take responsibility.
The leadership competencies expected at graduation are set out in guidance and cover five 'domains':
- Personal qualities - your integrity, self-awareness and self-management.
- Working with others - establishing networks and relationships, contribution and teamwork.
- Managing services - for example, planning.
- Improving services - such as patient safety, innovation, critical evaluation.
- Setting direction - applying knowledge and evidence, making decisions and evaluating impact.
If you have ambitions to take on a formal leadership role in the future, it's worth getting a head start by trying your hand at leadership in your medical school environment. When you move into your F1 year, you could ask about opportunities to take part in quality improvement projects at your new trust; join the training group of a royal college; learn about financial management, or ask senior colleagues to give you an insight into their work.
Can you stay calm under pressure? An organised approach helps when your workload is overwhelming you.
Focus on prioritising tasks by urgency and work through the list methodically. It's usually easier to make progress with difficult tasks if you break them down into 'bite size' chunks.
This is a helpful skill when you start work on the ward. It's really important to complete the tasks assigned to you during a shift, as routinely dumping unfinished work on your colleagues is unfair and unprofessional. If you really, truly haven't been able to finish something despite your best efforts, you should personally hand the task over to a colleague.
Finally, a healthy work/life balance is important in alleviating stress and boosting performance. Switch off properly when you are not working so you can recharge your batteries ready for the next day's fray.