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Making the most of your placements

The aim of the Foundation Programme is to build on undergraduate education instilling such attributes as professionalism and the importance of patient welfare.

It is intentionally a generic training programme to ensure that trainees can develop and demonstrate a range of essential clinical skills. However, it is also a time where Foundation doctors can begin to experience a variety of specialties which will help to inform their career pathway.

Time spent in both the acute and primary care settings can provide you with a range of opportunities to add to the body of evidence in your e-portfolio. This will help you demonstrate your skill, interests and ultimately your commitment to your chosen specialty.

Below are a few of the activities that you could involve yourself in during your Foundation training:  

Arrange taster sessions in specialties of interest – please contact your Foundation Training Programme Director who will be able to arrange this for you and ensure that you have a valuable experience during the taster

Observe outpatient clinic or theatre lists and keep a log book – maintain a record of the operations, procedures and clinics attended, reflecting on what you have seen and learned

Attend conferences or courses – these will help you gain and develop skills which show your commitment to a specialty and make you stand out from other candidates

Presentations and teaching – being involved in activities such as these, highlights your skills and knowledge base and shows that you able to manage your time effectively

Be involved in projects or audits and submit work for publication – this will demonstrate your interest in service development and a good audit may well win you a prize (something else to put on your CV!)

Talk to trainees and consultants in your areas of interest to find out what a career in that specialty is really like. For example you could ask:

  • What sort of work you might be doing?
  • How much variety?
  • What are the shift patterns? 
  • Are there any ethical issues you need to deal with?
  • Who you will be working with? What kind of relationships you might have with colleagues & patients?
  • Does the training programme required of you fit in with your skills and experience? 


Further reading

Making the most of your foundation training, by Elizabeth Hood, Aneel Bhangu 

Making the most of foundation year 1, by Aaron Hughes 

How to succeed in foundation training, by Dr James Murphy