Practical Considerations for FiY1s

By Dr Prakhar Srivastava, Foundation doctor in NW London.

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented action in all facets of our healthcare service. In the last few weeks, there have been significant developments to the plans for utilising current final year medical students as contributors to our workforce as “FiY1s” or foundation interim year 1 doctors.

Starting a job involves many changes to life as one might expect as a final year student. This article will cover a handful of considerations I’d recommend to any incoming FiY1s.

  1. Know your obligations

At present, there is no obligation for final year students to take the offer of an FiY1 role and it is crucial that everyone makes this decision without undue pressure from their University, peers or family. If you have a concern about starting work early, be it related to medicine, finance or personal circumstances, it is essential that they are explored before accepting any offers of employment.

  1. Seek a clear contract

There are several pieces of information that you should review before accepting any offers of employment such as:

  • Job description – what will your duties be as an FiY1? This is critical as you must know what duties are beyond the scope of your role and hence will require escalation to other members of staff.
  • Working hours – what will your average weekly hours be and what commitments will you have, if any, out of hours or on weekends?
  • Leave allocation – will you receive an allowance for annual, sick and compassionate leave?

Seeking the above pieces of information is good practice for all your future roles as an NHS worker and above all, will allow you to mentally prepare for your role in the workforce.

  1. Identify your supervision requirements

Even as standard F1s, there is clear guidance on the degree of supervision which is required. However, the FiY1 role is new and contracts have been drafted on very short notice. It is likely that your role will involve duties spread across several areas within the hospital. Knowing who you must ask for supervision or who is most appropriate for escalation of issues will allow you to work efficiently. In fact, you will likely be supervised by several different types of staff including FY1s, SHOs, SpRs, consultants and head nurses.

  1. Consider what “kit” you may need on the job

Removing as many stressors from your life as possible can greatly reduce the impact that starting work can have on your wellbeing. Start simply by ensuring you have all the equipment, clothes and items you need for an average week of working. This may include:

  • Working stethoscope
  • Supply of pens and a small pocket notebook if preferred
  • Enough sets of comfortable work clothes with adequate pockets to last a week (however, you may be asked to wear scrubs or another form of uniform which can be washed daily)
  • A pair of shoes you are happy to be standing, walking and climbing stairs in for the duration of your shift
  • Tupperware if you plan on taking packed lunches
  • A work bag which can store the above items, any of your valuables, lunch and a spare set of clothes just in case
  • If your vision requires correction, glasses/contacts with a recently updated prescription
  1. Plan for your financial life

For starters, I’d highly recommend getting a basic grounding in how your income deductions will be calculated and this will likely include:

  • Income tax
  • National insurance
  • NHS pension
  • Student loan repayments

Considering the financial payment’s you may need to make in the case of moving to another region of the country is also essential to ensure you are not blindsided. Significant costs to keep in mind include:

  • Rent deposit and up to the first two months of rent
  • Contents insurance
  • Any furniture, white goods or study equipment

Finally, having a thought about the idea of savings is important. It may not be possible initially given the up-front costs of moving and starting work but forecasting your likely income and expenditure will allow you to roughly estimate how much you may be able to put aside. 

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