From SCUBA to FiY1: Entering my first rotation during a pandemic
Hello. My name is Faris Hussain and I am a recently graduated Doctor from Cardiff. I am starting FiY1 in a few weeks time, following a whirlwind which led to me finishing medical school in a few months. From SCUBA-diving in the red sea to entering into a paid placement weeks later, I would have never expected my final year of medical school to be this erratic.
How the pandemic changed things
In pre-COVID-19 circumstances, our final year at Cardiff was reasonably relaxed. We have clinical finals at the end of year 4 and lots of placements in year 5 to prepare for the daunting first F1 attachment.
For those staying in Wales, this includes a 7-week placement shadowing your first FY1 attachment. With COVID-19, this placement was scrapped and my year group was allocated to hospitals across Wales as paid clinical assistants. We were equivalent to new Doctors but we needed a counter-signature for all of our prescriptions whilst we awaited GMC registration.
Though I was expecting a busy and dramatic start to this attachment, what I found was a hugely supportive environment. The hospital I was in, and where I am also starting as an FiY1, was well organised in allocating us to 12-hour shifts. We had a strong induction programme with PPE training and COVID-19 specific training. This meant that we were very familiar with all of the COVID-19 changes to hospital policy before starting. I was anticipating an overwhelming and possibly traumatic experience.
In all honesty, it was the opposite of traumatic. The team I was part of on a General Medicine ward were incredibly welcoming and helped me to perform my duty within the 5-week post.
Refreshing knowledge online
What I found massively helpful before starting was the F|Docs online programme that was made free for all final year medical students by Medics.Academy. My elective was very chilled and having come from a GP placement, this meant that my last hospital attachment finished last October. Therefore, starting in April meant that it had been six months since I had been in a hospital managing unwell patients.
The F|Docs programme was a useful refresher for all of the material that I thought I had forgotten and gave me renewed confidence about starting this placement.