You don't need to be signed in to read BMJ Blogs, but you can register here to receive updates about other BMJ products and services via our site.

Junior doctors

Henry Murphy: The Moderate Doctor

25 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Jeremy Hunt recently told Twitter that “Moderate doctors must defeat the militants,” quoting the title of a Times article about the current war between the Department of Health and the BMA. My first response was to sit back and enjoy a flurry of hilarious responses (the reason I look at the @Jeremy_Hunt Twitter page so often). Comments included “Moderate doctors must defeat Jeremy Hunt,” ”If your definition of militant is standing up to protect the NHS against tyrants like you…,” and “So where are all these ‘moderate doctors’… I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think you are wrong and doesn’t support junior drs.” more…

Ahimza Thirunavukarasu: Thinking about empathy

2 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Ahimza ThirunavukarasuI’ve thought a lot about empathy recently. As a junior doctor on a psychiatry rotation, this is unsurprising, as interacting with people with acute mental health problems on a daily basis requires more patience and understanding than any of my previous roles. But it is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the rotation.

I’ve learnt to communicate appropriately with patients from a variety of backgrounds, varying my approach on the basis of their response to me. I’ve learnt how to take it on the chin when the person in front of me hates me and isn’t afraid to show it. I’ve learnt that life isn’t fair for many of the people I’ve met; both the patients and their families. And I’ve accepted that a doctor’s role in improving these lives can sometimes be very limited. more…

Global Health Curriculum group: A changing world and what it means for medical training

30 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

core_global_health_competenciesThis month the BMA released a report on the need for pre and post-graduate medical education and training to adapt in the face of a rapidly “changing world.”

We are pleased to see recognition of the need to update postgraduate competencies. However, as doctors in training who are dedicated to the integration of global health into current postgraduate training programmes, we fear that there are important gaps that have not been adequately addressed. The report recognises increased complexity in “characteristics of the population” and “public expectations of healthcare,” but we believe that equally important is the increasing complexity of social, political, and economic systems which profoundly influence health.  more…

Richard Smith: The Catch 22 of health strikes

29 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014Junior doctors are clearly extremely angry. Some 15 000 junior doctors recently protested against changes in their contract. As there are about 55 000 junior doctors in England, that’s the equivalent of about 16m of the general population protesting a change. That would be a revolution. But why are junior doctors so angry and what should they do about their anger?

The standard line is that doctors are protecting “patient safety, the wellbeing of doctors, and the future of the NHS.” That seems to me spin. more…

Patrice Baptiste: Exploring doctors’ mental health

29 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

patrice_baptisteSince my last blog (“Mental health issues among medical students“), I have been thinking about how mental health issues affect doctors. If such issues arise among medical students who have not yet stepped into the working world, what about doctors who have dedicated decades of their life to the medical profession? Through looking into this issue, I gained a small but crucial insight into the often closed door of mental health among doctors.

I came across a survey conducted by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) this year. The survey revealed that of the 631 MPS members who responded, 85% were experiencing mental health issues. more…

Patrice Baptiste: Mental health issues among medical students

22 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

patrice_baptisteI was extremely saddened when I read the Student BMJ’s article on a survey of 1122 medical students, 343 of whom were suffering with mental health issues. Several astounding figures captured my attention. Firstly, 80% of the 343 students stated that the support they received was poor, if they received any support at all. 167 out of the 1122 students admitted to contemplating suicide during their time at medical school.

Let’s just stop for a second—suicide?! I cast my mind back to when I was at medical school; it was not that long ago. I remember the intensity of it. I sacrificed a large amount of time with my family and friends in order to revise for what seemed like a never ending barrage of assessments and exams. Of course I had several moments when I wanted to quit, when I wanted to walk away and give up on my dream, but I did not due to the constant support and encouragement I had from those around me. A small fraction of the 300 plus students in my year could have been suffering with mental health issues and contemplating suicide. Though the statistics are small these figures still represent people; students who are pursuing their dream, who want to better themselves, and help others. more…

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…

BMJ blogs homepage


Helping doctors make better decisions. Visit site

Creative Comms logo

Latest from The BMJ

Latest from The BMJ

Latest from BMJ podcasts

Latest from BMJ podcasts

Blogs linking here

Blogs linking here