How to survive your first
To help you prepare, two former members of Avant’s Doctors in
Training Advisory Committee, Dr Jodi Glading and Dr Marion Davies, offer their
tips on how best to navigate your first year practising medicine.
Be very organised
Know your patients and their investigation
results. Have a current patient list on you at all times and a spare for your
boss. Keep blank investigation request forms on you ready to complete during
the ward round. Write lists and check items off. Prioritise your ‘to-do’ list.
Don't leave discharge planning and paperwork until the last minute. Good
handovers are essential for both patient care and for prioritising.
Keep an open mind
Be enthusiastic about all allocated terms and
campus locations. It may not be your first preference but you may be surprised.
Consider rural posts as there will often be greater opportunity for teaching
and skills development with one-on-one supervision. You learn more than you
realise when doing all the "grunt work".
be polite and respectful to everyone - patients and work colleagues. Avoid
negativity and don't get involved with office gossip or romances. Give your
patients the level of care and treatment that you would want for a member of
your family. Avoid complaining and arguing. If you need to disagree with a
colleague, step away from the patient first. Always keep in mind that other
people - including the patient or a patient’s family member - may view your
notes. Remember this when certifying a death.
Be cautious with
Never check social media on your phone during work time.
You will be seen and it doesn’t convey a professional image
Practice within your limits
You are the most junior member of
the team. You are not expected to work independently. Never be afraid to ask
questions. Verify and document the plan for each patient with your senior
doctor. Know why you are requesting each investigation - be able to justify
your request. If you're not sure about something, don't do it.
and take opportunities for personal development
Never pass up an
opportunity to learn. Participate. Help perform tasks you didn't learn or see
in medical school. Document logbooks and get these signed off. Talk to your
seniors, build professional relationships and find a mentor. Set goals for each
term and review mid-term to stay on track or to focus on particular areas. You
can learn from everyone - bosses, patients, nurses, and allied health
Take your breaks
Book your holidays. Manage
wellbeing. Avoid burnout. Develop emotional intelligence. Eat. Allocate time to
maintaining relationships with family and friends. Have a GP. Accurately record
your working hours on your time sheets and turn them in on time.
Take good notes and get your own indemnity insurance
that something will go wrong with the management of one of your patients one
day. Whether an incident is your fault or not, your hospital may not
necessarily cover your defense fully. Document, document, document. Good notes
will help save you. A third person should be able to read your notes and
understand the reasons for the clinical decisions made. Also, beware of using
jargon and acronyms that can be misconstrued - For example, GBS could be Group
B Streptococcus or could be Guillain-Barre syndrome.