Positive - Appropriate support on nights. - Exposure to ill patients.
Negative - introductory week insufficient with regards to oncall and ED shifts - Teaching variable quality. Friday BAD day for teaching as tends to be busy. - Insufficient number of bleeps means contacting seniors (except at night) difficult.
I went to med school down in Southampton ...
I went to med school down in Southampton but came up to the east of England for foundation trraining.
F1 was spent at Bedford hospital which was a little bit gloomy. Social side - a lot of our cohort commuted from london or surrounding areas so not much of a Bedford group around after work or weekends (not that there are many places you'd want to go out to..) but a bit of a shame. The mess leaves a lot to be desired too. Bonus is trains run all night to london so you can escape : ) Quite a few staffing issues (shortages and changing of jobs once we'd started) so frequently short staffed and overstretched... not surprises there. Teaching was also rubbish, rarely clinically appropriate for foundation and little peer teaching.
Job wise I had resp (stress, only ward cover no acute admissions) colorectal surg (great, good teams, time to go to theatre, supportive seniors, good on call experience) and acute med (supportive seniors and good clerking experience) So overall good f1 experience. Moved to Addenbrookes for F2 just started urology and on the clinical fellow rota which has been a great experience. In the deep end being on call as the sho but supportive teams and laods of theatre/clinic time. Also keen for us to get involved with research which is good! The bonus of being in a large teaching hospital. Cambridge itself is lovely, so worth the year in Beds to be here I think : )
I went to Southampton Medical School...
I went to Southampton Medical School and, apart from myself, I don’t know anybody who put East Anglia as a top choice. I find it hard to understand why. East Anglia is a beautiful region, from the historic city of Cambridge to the Norfolk broads, there is something for everyone whether it be seeing the sights or exploring the wonderful countryside. There are great links to London, so if you want a deanery that’s near but where you’re not actually working in fast paced London it’s brilliant. As far as support goes I have felt very welcomed into this new area. Don’t be afraid to move away from what you know- transition from final year medical student to FY1 is the perfect time for this.
Addenbrookes, Papworth, Hinchingbrooke
Like many other final year medical students, I was unsure what to base my ranking of deaneries on. I had gone to university in Cambridge and decided to go with a place that I already knew and I was comfortable with. Having spent the last year working in the region, I am very pleased that I chose to stay as my overall experience has been very good.
1. Working at Addenbrooke's Hospital - being a very busy tertiary centre and a teaching hospital, I found that I learnt a lot during my two placements. While the workload is greater than starting off at a DGH, the senior support was excellent and there was never a dull moment! In general, the consultants were very approachable in both my medical and surgical placement (Stroke and Hepatobiliary Surgery). The takes were also equally busy which provides a lot of opportunity to see and manage patients presenting with various conditions.
2. Academic Opportunities - Once again, being a teaching hospital attached to a university, it is very easy to get invovled in both research as well as teaching.
3. Living in Cambridge - Slightly biased as I have lived here for the last 8 years but overall, have really enjoyed living here. There's enough to do to keep you busy during the week, but is close enough to London for weekends. Living costs are less than London, but still fairly high.
4. Social Aspects - Both the Addenbrooke's and Hinchingbrooke mess are quite sociable and active - Addenbrooke's organised formal social events at least once a month while Hinchingbrooke, being a lot smaller, relies on word-of-mouth and more spontanous gatherings. The surgical job at both hospitals was very sociable as multiple teams of junior doctors work out of the same office. I found that this was slightly less true of the medical jobs.
1. Large Deanery (Geographically) - I was lucky to stay within commutable distance of Cambridge throughout the two years (Addenbrooke's, Papworth, Hinchingbrooke); however, this is only the case for about 1/4 of the available jobs. A lot of jobs would require moving between the two years, or even within one of the years.
2. Working at Papworth Hosptial - While Papworth is an amazing place to be in terms of seeing rare conditions in a very specialised environment, I found it a bit too specialised as an FY1. As there is little general medicine involved and most aspects of care is senior led, the FY1 job is almost completely just admin and paperwork.
3. Picking jobs for both years at the very beginning - Would have been nice to have the opportunity to choose FY2 jobs once I had already had experience as an FY1 and gained a better understanding of what jobs I enjoyed! However, it is usually not too hard to swap jobs.
Hope this handover has been helpful! Overall, I am very happy with my choice.
Addenbrookes General Surgery
I've had the opportunity to work in Addenbrooke's general surgery as a student and as an F1.
I don't think any part of my student life prepared me adequately for being a surgical F1 in such a big busy hospital. There are a lot of patients to care for, and being at the most junior level in the team ensures that all the jobs are left to you to deal with. I've learnt to prioritise through making mistakes; no one expects you to be perfect at the very start, though they do expect you to learn quickly.
The staff I have worked closely with are all wonderfully helpful, the registrars are often in theatre but happy to be consulted by popping your head round a theatre door, particularly as phone reception is patchy for some networks.
The onus is on us to take breaks and further our own learning, which can be difficult when busy, especially as staffing levels might sometimes be lower than desired. It can also be complicated getting used to different policies and procedures. It feels like a lot of time is spent on the phone trying to get hold of the right person; for example to discuss a particular scan, or having to re-discuss a scan that was discussed the day before but didn't happen. Being such a busy hospital means there is a lot of pressure on services and personnel, which at times can be frustrating when your patients are unwell or management is being delayed.
All in all, for someone who doesn't want to be a surgeon I am enjoying my time as a surgical F1 at Addenbrooke's more than I thought I would!
Hinchingbrooke hospital, FY1 general surgery, Bristol Uni Grad.
All the hospital staff are very friendly and approachable. Surgery lacks middle grades i.e SHOs especially during on-calls. This means more hands on, which is good for all those who want to do surgery. However, this also means you are thrown in at the deep end. Practise differs from home (Bristol) as there are not enough hospital guidelines and protocols to refer to. Otherwise, there are great team dynamics and educational supervisors are always available when you need them.
Foundation Training at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital 2010-2012
I have worked in the paediatric, surgical and emergency departments at NNUH.
I found it to be an excellent place to train with plenty of opportunities to perform procedures in all areas. Particularly for my interest there was ample opportunities for theatre time. The hospital itself is relatively modern and purpose built making it a nice place to work. I found it to be a good balance between not having too many doctors around to feel crowded and that you were competing for experience whilst at the same time feeling adequately supported.
An A+E job though certainly hard work at the time is I think an invaluable experience and one that I would advise all trainees to seek out.Foundation training at James Paget Hospital 2010-2011I undertook the medical portion of my foundation program at JPH. A true DGH experience was excellent for me, giving me a well rounded experience of all common medical conditions and their management. A very friendly place to work. Perhaps for those people interested in more specialized medicine and research it would not be so ideal but certainly should not put off trainees that find the jobs at NNUH it is linked with attractive. The hospital itself is easily commutable from Norwich which allowed me to live in one place in Norwich for the 2 years.