Considering an F3 year? The options and top tips that you need to know!

Considering an F3 year? The options and top tips you need to know!

To F3 or not to F3 – that is the question! After completing your foundation training, you have the freedom to decide what you want to do next. You may want to jump straight into speciality or core training, or perhaps you’re thinking of taking a year out (known as an F3 year). If you’re considering the latter but need a little help deciding what you want to do during F3, then look no further! We’ve gathered a handful of options for you to consider, as well as essential top tips for making the most of your F3 year.

So, what could I do during my F3 year?

TAKE A BREATHER - After 5 (or 6) years of studying Medicine at university, followed by 2 years of intense foundation training, you may feel burnt out and in need of a real break. You can use your F3 year to take a breather from the demands of being a Junior Doctor before jumping into speciality or core training. Whether you want to spend time with friends and family or to focus on your hobbies, your F3 year can be a great way of recharging your batteries before speciality or core training.

TRAVEL THE WORLD – you don’t need to travel the whole world, but perhaps you want to visit places outside of the UK, now that staycations aren’t the only option! Travelling to a different country will allow you to experience another culture, make new friends, try exotic food and have a go at new experiences, such as visiting a floating market (Thailand for those interested). Of course, travelling does cost £££ so you will need to make sure you have plenty of savings in advance or consider working for half the year and travelling the other half.

EXPERIENCE WORKING ABROAD – If you want to travel but also want to practise medicine during your F3 year, then working abroad could be for you. Not only will you get to travel on your days off and possibly learn another language, but you will also gain hands-on experience of working in a different environment. You can either volunteer (you’ll need to have savings for this) or apply for a paid position at a hospital/clinic. Working abroad will require a lot of planning such as deciding where you want to go, getting a visa and insurance etc – keep this in mind.

LOCUMING – your F3 year can be a great opportunity to get some extra £££ through locuming. You would have flexibility and control over where/when you work, and the pay is high! You can locum at a hospital you have previously worked at (join the hospital bank) or you assign a locum agency to find you a place to work at the days/times that suit you (please note: agencies will charge a fee for this service). If you decide to go down the locum agency route, you may need to set yourself up as self-employed, which will come with extra financial and administration duties. For more info on this: Wesleyan_Guide_Self-employment in the dental and medical industry_10

ADDITIONAL CAREER OPTIONS – Taking an F3 year allows you to explore your options and help to determine specialty you wish to do. There are many fellowship posts (such as clinical, researching and teaching) across the UK that you could apply for to try a new specialty or role, or to gain additional experience in the specialty that already interests you.  Fellowships look great on your CV! You could shadow superiors in specialities you’re interested in to help decide which specialty you enjoy most and want to pursue. If you already know which specialty you wish to do, think about shadowing a superior in the specialty you’re interested in and gain more experience within this field.  Alternatively, you could use your F3 year to complete a postgraduate degree, which looks great on your specialty application.

Top Tips for taking an F3 year

  • If you don’t want to take a full year out, in some cases you can take a 6-month break and continue training in the following February instead of August. This means you can still have a break but can start speciality/core training sooner.
  • Plan, plan, plan! Whether you’ll be locuming or traveling, you need to set aside time to decide what you want to do and what this decision entails.
  • Ensure your portfolio remains up to date. Keep a record of any certificates or feedback you receive throughout your F3 year, as this can go in your portfolio.
  • Keep in mind that you’ll have to show how you’ve benefited from your F3 year (either personally or professionally) during your yearly appraisal.
  • Make the most of your F3 year because you may not have an opportunity like this again.

DID YOU KNOW: In 2019, the percentage of F2 doctors going straight into core/specialty training was 34.9%. – Health Education England