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Junior doctors

Alex Langford: Tips for new doctors

6 Aug, 15 | by BMJ

alex_langfordIt’s been six years since I qualified from medical school and over a week since my final shift as an SHO. Between those points, I learnt a thing or two about being a junior doctor. Before I ascend to the heady heights of registardom and forget it all, I want to pass along a few bits of advice to the new crop of F1s. I hope it will be of use.

Firstly, get ready for a surprise. All that studying you did, all those placements and modules you went through, are poor preparation for being a doctor. Real life on the wards is very different to textbook land, and the problems you have to deal with are entirely unrelated to your finals. Instead of being asked for four differential diagnoses for a third cranial nerve palsy, you’ll be faced with questions like “does this wound look a bit funny?” and “do I need to do anything about a bilirubin of 32?” It’s normal not to have the foggiest idea about these things, but if you aren’t sure, just ask. You never know if it might actually be important. more…

Martin Kaminski: A word of advice to future house officers

28 Jul, 15 | by BMJ


Once again the NHS approaches the first week of August, specifically changeover Wednesday—when freshly tempered medical school graduates throughout the UK auspiciously start their first days working as bona fide junior doctors. But we often forget that changeover day also marks the no less important occasion when many doctors in training become ever so slightly more senior doctors. The importance of that other transition doesn’t get nearly the celebration it deserves.

Stephanie Rimmer: Foundation training fears

27 Jul, 15 | by BMJ Group

Having recently graduated from medical school, in a few days’ time I will start my first ever job as a doctor. That title alone, which I worked so hard for, now completely terrifies me and feels totally unjustified. How can I have spent the last five years studying, to lead me up to this point, and yet feel so unprepared? more…

Emma Ladds: Keeping a sense of perspective

24 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

photo (5)Getting through the key safe is often a major accomplishment on home visits. Once you’ve achieved that, you can be pretty sure you can manage what lies beyond. Today I was going to see a lady with a palliative brain tumour*. I’d been part of her admitting hospital team and had remarkably come across her again during my primary care placement almost 10 months later. She remained overwhelmingly positive and visits were always full of a joke or two. A new carer had started today, and had called to say that she thought Mrs B had slurred speech and could do with a medical review. I had sighed. Mrs B’s speech had been slurred for days now, thanks to her cortical invader. She was hemiplegic too. Not long now. I had agreed to go and visit though. I wanted to say goodbye. more…

Sioned Gwyn on sexism and women in medicine

17 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

sioned_gwynSir Tim Hunt, British biochemist and Nobel Laureate, had until recently enjoyed relative anonymity outside of scientific fields. Recently, at an international conference of science journalists in Seoul, he was invited to speak at a meeting for women in science and delivered as part of his speech an extraordinarily ill judged few sentences which have come to haunt him: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.


Neel Sharma: We need to improve feedback to medical students

11 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

The other day I made a point of observing the number of people walking whilst using their mobile phones. I am sure we have all made a similar observation of people staring down at their phones. The vast extent of the problem has even been characterised clinically as “text neck.” I recall the days of my teens when mobile phones either didn’t exist or were a luxury. I was allowed to use my parents’ mobile on a Saturday evening when meeting friends to watch a film or go for dinner. And now it seems that if we don’t exchange instant messages with each other or send several Emojis’ a day we are out of touch more…

Neel Sharma: Validation in medical education—from classroom to curriculum

1 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

In clinical research there is typically a transition from cell based analysis, animal work, and human involvement before any form of intervention, be it diagnostic or treatment based, is deemed valid in a clinical setting. One example I can relate to currently is the use of image enhanced endoscopy which my colleagues and I are working on at the human stage having cleared cellular and animal works.

The FDA is central to the drug and device approval process. And interestingly for the former, up to 3000 patients can be tested with the process taking several years. The latter also follows similar cautious settings. more…

Neel Sharma: Reforms in medical education—are we missing something?

22 May, 15 | by BMJ

Medical education has seen significant change over the past decade and more. Advances in teaching, learning, and assessment strategies are vast. The didactic lecture form of teaching is no longer the flavour of the month it seems with more and more emphasis on problem and team based learning. Classrooms are seeing the use of mobile devices to allow for rapid learner access to information and instructors are now tasked with the need not to simply disseminate information but to ensure understanding and provide appropriate feedback. Classes are being “flipped” and the MOOC movement has meant that attending face to face teaching is slowly becoming a non-existing entity. more…

Daniel Barrett: Will a seven day NHS push primary care recruitment from crisis to catastrophe?

20 May, 15 | by BMJ

I listened with personal interest as the new conservative government re-launched its grand plan to deliver a “seven day health service.” In a little over a year I will be beginning life as a junior doctor along with thousands of others, all starting to question where our careers are heading. The answer for many of us could well be tied up inextricably with the fate of the “seven day NHS.” more…

Neel Sharma: Getting the right medical students comes with time

13 May, 15 | by BMJ

Last month, Richard Schwartzstein authored his perspective on poor communication skills among medical students and beyond (1). I read this with great interest and wanted to share my insights as a doctor in training. In the UK, it was also noted that allegations about doctors’ communication skills had risen by 69 per cent in the last year and complaints about lack of respect by 45 per cent (2). Whilst we may attempt to screen out those poor communicators early on as Richard highlights, I am not sure if this is truly beneficial. more…

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