Junior doctor Sophie Ashley explains how an interim placement role prepared her for life as an FY1.

I’m currently working as an FY1 at Royal Bolton Hospital in general surgery. Last summer, I did a 10-day foundation interim year one (FiY1) role in respiratory medicine, which was also my first rotation as a foundation trainee. My trust had arranged FiY1s as an extended shadowing period to help us to get to grips with the FY1 role and learn practical tips from current FY1s.

Day-to-day duties

We arrived each morning before the ward round and were taught how to do various tasks, such as how to document. We also learned the quirks of each consultant and helped with jobs in the afternoon, including inter-speciality referrals and TTOs.

I used my extra time as an FiY1 to ensure we had access to all the computer and on-site systems in the respiratory department, such as blood gas machines, and to find out the codes for different clinical areas, like the wards and treatment rooms. 

I also took the opportunity to ask my FY2 mentor to show me where to go for handover, how to prioritise jobs and where to find the good tourniquets! This all came in handy once I started FY1 – I had a very early set of on-call night shifts on weekends, but I felt better prepared for those first on-calls because my FiY1 role had familiarised me with the duties and responsibilities.

I felt better prepared for my first on-calls because my FiY1 role had familiarised me with the duties and responsibilities.

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Prep for FY1

The extended shadowing period also meant that when my first official day as an FY1 arrived (or the first FY1 on-call arrived!), although still daunting, it felt less stressful as we’d already been introduced to the ward staff, nurses, HCAs, patients, and some of the FY2s who we could later ask for advice. 

Since the interim FiY1 role usually runs in July, it also meant that we were paid for the interim FiY1 a month before the first FY1 pay day, which is financially beneficial after five or six years of university! However, the rate of interim FiY1 pay differs from trust to trust, as well as the responsibilities of the role, so I’d advise prospective FiY1s to contact their employer before starting to clarify the specifics. 

Top tips for clinical placements

Here are my top tips on making the most out of clinical placements, including FiY1. 

  1. Ask questions about anything and everything. When you start your first rotation as an FY1, it’s likely that some of the middle-grades will also be new to the hospital, so use this time to ask about the practicalities of the jobs, such as codes, referral systems, computer access – the FY2s may not be around to ask for help.  
  2. Get to know the ward staff. They’ll be able to support you practically and emotionally when things get tough in those first few weeks, and it really helps when you know a friendly face who knows where the tea bags are! 
  3. Don’t be afraid to get things wrong and put yourself forward for learning opportunities. FiY1 is likely to be the most supported role in your foundation training and also when you have the most spare time, so use this time to observe and learn from others, gain clinical experience and enjoy it!

This page was correct at publication on 24/05/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.