Becoming an FY1 doctor!

03 September 2017

So, I am a HYMS graduate and a foundation year 1 doctor in Grimsby hospital currently working in general surgery. I still can't quite believe medical school is over and I'm finally doing the job that I wanted for so many years.  I am 2 months into the job now and have had some significant events happen already!

1: I get called Dr Cunliffe daily, which is very strange and I’m still not used to it! No matter how many times I ask people to call me Laura – it's now evolved to Dr Laura! So we are getting there!

2: I have been paid. A glorious event, and one which HSBC were also very glad about!

3: I have survived my first on call weekend – yes they are as bad as they sound! I think I gave myself AKI after not going for a wee for 17 hours! I do not recommend it!!

4: I have laughed many times, with patients and colleagues alike. I have made some great friends which have got me through the difficult days, after all – there’s nothing a glass of wine and a good rant can’t fix!

5: I have made a mistake and got my wrist slapped for it. Don't worry - nothing hideous happened. It was a busy shift and I was helping a colleague out who was on call. I was on the phone speaking to a consultant about a urology patient (not even my specialty) who was profusely bleeding and I was asked to prescribe someone his usual dose of warfarin. I couldn't see a reason not to and his INR was fine, so I did. Turns out he was meant to stay off it for a few days -oooops. I was very grateful that this happened early on in my career and it taught me not to rush things and don't always do what the nurses tell me to do - always check first! But don't worry the patient is home now and fine (I checked!)

6: I have been on my first annual leave holiday. A fabulous trip to Dubrovnik, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. I highly recommend - especially if you like game of thrones!

7: I have managed a medical emergency by myself. A harrowing experience in hindsight, but at the time felt totally manageable! Due to HYMS' great preparation, auto-pilot kicked in and I managed to stop this patient fitting using IV lorazepam. When the med reg arrived he thought I was the surgical reg - a rather proud moment!

8: I have done an M&M meeting. Mortality and morbidity. Yes as dull as it sounds, but  it's where the whole department sit and discuss what has happened to our patients who have not had good outcomes, and we all analyse the case and what happened. It's not in an accusatory manner but more a learning tool. It was very interesting to be involved in and even the senior consultants listened to what the F1s had to say, as we look after the patients on a daily basis after all.

9: I have cried. I will admit it. Twice actually, but no one saw! I felt very overwhelmed on my first weekend on call with all the jobs to do. But I locked myself in a room for 10 minutes and prioritised my jobs which made me feel better. I ploughed through them and finished my shift (albeit 2 hours late!) but it was my first one to be fair. The second time was when in had to be involved in telling a patient who I had grown very close to that her pancreas biopsy showed she had adenocarcinoma, and she was not for surgery. The best we could do for her was palliative chemotherapy. I had known this 61 year old lady for 7 weeks and we had grown very close. It was a horribly difficult thing to be part of, knowing that it was a massive moment in her life and I was in it. But I witnessed how my consultant did it in a very sympathetic but informative way, and gave her hope despite her dismal prognosis. I was honoured to be part of this lady's care.

10: I feel like I have made a difference to my patients and that is the best feeling. It makes the (very) long hours worth it, and in my opinion you cannot get much higher job satisfaction than that!

Sorry for the long post, I hope my future ones won't be as lengthy! But that pretty much sums up my feelings about that transition from 5th year student to F1. It's big but totally manageable! I will keep you all undated with any funny, useful or down right outrageous things that happen to me in my F1 life! Please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions you want me to answer or you want me to discuss any aspects about the job which you are unsure about!

Hope you enjoy!

Laura C


Dr Laura Cunliffe is a Hull York Medical School graduate (Class of 2017) and a foundation year 1 doctor in Grimsby hospital currently working in general surgery.

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