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By The Next Step

Top five tips for building resilience in FY1

3 min
Female medical professional student wearing a mask

Is FY1 creeping up on you? You may be extremely well prepared, or perhaps you’re choosing to ignore the fact that it’s time to start taking care of your own patients (without supervision watching your every move).

Whatever your feelings, when you embark on your FY1 journey, it’s nice to know you’re equipped with the tools to help you build resilience to handle whatever challenges you’re faced with - even when things don’t necessarily go to plan.  

To help you along your way, we’ve gathered our top five tips for resilience in FY1 - bought to you by medics who have been there and worn the scrubs.

Tip 1: Stay flexible 

‘The burden and pace of clinical medicine can be a little bit overwhelming at times. You’re suddenly put into a position of authority and you have to make decisions about things. You come onto your first night shift and there’ll be 10 patients to see, you’ll have 15 jobs handed over from someone and you’ll go from ward to ward with an endless list, so that’s a big challenge’.

- Dr James Glasbey, Surgical Registrar

In summary, have patience with yourself whilst you adjust to the pace.

Tip 2: Reflect on your experiences

‘You’ll build a lot of resilience as you cope with more and more things. So, it’s good to reflect on everything’.

- Dr Harry Spiers, ST2 General Surgery

‘As doctors, we always reflect when things go wrong, but never when things go right. And I think that’s also a part of the problem, that we never turn around and say, I did a pretty good job today. It’s very rare that we will pat each other on the back and say didn’t we do well today? I think it’s important to reflect on what you did well, as that can have a positive effect on your mental health’.

Dr James Glasbey, Surgical Registrar

Tip 3: Demonstrate bounce-back-ability (particularly when things don’t go to plan)

You are going to feel out of your depth, but that’s normal.

 ‘Eventually something clicks and everything will start flowing. The first few weeks are going to be difficult, but they’re meant to be. As a word of advice, if you are thinking ‘should I ask for help’, you almost certainly should be. Just think of it as saving you and our patients time by doing so'.

- Dr Rosie O’Donoghue, CT2 General Surgery

Tip 4: Accept you are sometimes just the messenger

There will be times when you come across unforgiving colleagues. Make sure you know the back story to justify if you are challenged. Ultimately, they will know you are just the messenger, so try not to perceive their annoyance as a reflection on you. After all, they could be dealing with things you know nothing about.

Tip 5: Remember you are good enough

There will be lots of juggling tasks and prioritising which will be new to you, so go easy on yourself. Sometimes it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing your weaknesses to others' strengths, and this should be avoided at all costs. You have studied for five or six years to earn your place in FY1, and that is no easy task. Take time to settle in and know that with time, everything will slot into place.