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By Dr Pooja Devani

How to choose your deanery

3 min
Smiling female medical student

When it comes to choosing your NHS deanery, there are many factors to think about.

I’ve tried to categorise these for you in an attempt to help you think of all the factors which come into play. The importance of these are up to your own discretion.


This is essentially somewhere you’ll be spending at least two years of your life. So, where do you want to go?

Do you want somewhere brand new to explore and make new connections?

Do you want to go back home and have all the luxuries that come with living with your parents? After your night shift, there is nothing better than coming home with breakfast ready for you. Your freedom that you may have had university is massively different, but there is truly nothing like home comforts. 

Somewhere you did your undergraduate training and know the local hospitals is always a nice option. It’s familiar and contacts have already been made, which makes settling into a new role all the more easier. Maybe some of your colleagues have stayed back too? You may have also started some research projects with an academic team there and want to continue with this.

You may want to work at the busiest A&E in London, or the largest trauma centre in Birmingham. If these locations are important to you and your training, then go for it.

Training rotations

There may be certain rotations that you really need for your future specialty. For example, perhaps the rotations you really want have both paediatrics, surgery, A&E and an academic block, and these may be the only choice of rotations you really need to form your decision making.

Or, if you want highly competitive rotations like surgery, anaesthetics and ITU, then sometimes people choose based on the mixture of rotations providing them great experience for their future specialties.

Long-term plans

Do you know where you see yourself in five years’ time? Do you know where you want to specialise? Do you know where you may want to live and which hospitals you want to work in or work near?

Perhaps there’s an area you would like to settle down in? Perhaps you’re thinking about investing in a long-term property there. There are many factors that determine this. However, it is only two years and things can always change.

Academic research and/or educational teams may influence this too, as there may be an academic team you wish to join one day.

Academic factors

Pre-existing research connections are often a common reason to go to a certain deanery. Maybe you've already made links with a research team which can be further fostered during your foundation training.

Moreover, there may be a research interest of yours based at a particular university or deanery and and so therefore it may be where you need to be situated to join the team there to pursue your interest.

Finally, do you want to do PhD in a particular place? If so, networking and integrating early on will be hugely beneficial in this pursuit.

I hope these tips have given you further food for thought when choosing your rotations.