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How to Survive Junior Doctor Rotations

Jul 13, 2020.

The transition from medical school to your foundation years can be the most exciting yet daunting step within your medical career. That being said, it’s a time to celebrate as you will now be working in a hospital full-time, learning new experiences and have increased responsibility.

So, we want to give you our top tips to help you on your road to success and surviving junior doctor rotations!

1. Never stop asking questions

The first thing to remember is that whenever you join a new working environment, ward, department or practice there will ALWAYS be new things to learn, regardless of your grade. Some lessons will be ward specific such as where to find the blood request forms and some may be a Consultant’s preference, such as how to introduce yourself to a patient.

Most importantly, when it comes to a patient’s health, safety or care – always ask whether your decision or action is best with a quick confirmation from the senior doctor on shift.

As a junior doctor, of course there are going to be endless things that you’ve never experienced before so don’t feel shy or embarrassed because every doctor has been in your position at some point of their career and they’ll be more than happy to help you.

Remember – it’s better to ask in the moment than to be sorry later!

2. Get Organised

Next up it’s important to work on your organisational skills! Ward rounds and in particular surgical ward rounds are very hectic and yes, stressful! As a junior doctor, you’ll be expected to see hundreds of patients in a few hours, write up their notes, complete scan requests and send off for bloods – leaving you with a full directory of jobs to complete in just one shift.

The first step to improving your organisational skills is to prioritise your workload. After you’ve completed your ward round, you’ll need to learn how to review your patients to ensure that the most unwell come first.

Ideally, scans and referrals should be done as early as possible and then you can move onto which patients require a discharge summary, sending the medicine to the pharmacy. Whilst that is all processing you can go on to review other results, continuing to get as organised as possible.

Next up is your notes sheet! Keep a page with you throughout the day and separate it into two columns; one for outstanding jobs (cross them out as completed) and a second, for your patients and their needs’ status.

Last but not least, junior doctor rotations can be hectic; so now the’s chance to hone your organisation skills and to think ahead. For every patient you see, think ahead to what they may need in the next few hours or so. Whether that is medication, a blood test, sick pan or catheter changed – anything!

Think ahead and it will save you and your colleagues from having to return in a couple of hours.

3. Eat, drink and take your well-deserved break!

When it’s your profession to care for others, there will always be one more job to do. The busy nature of being a doctor means it sometimes possible to not find the time to eat or drink. However, it’s essential to care for yourself, to give you the energy to care for others.

Sometimes the adrenaline of a shift keeps you going, however, this isn’t sustainable and you’ll end up burning out.

So, when it’s time for your break – take it! Eat some nutritional food, not junk and stay away from quick fixes such as chocolate and fizzy drinks. Stay hydrated with water, tea and coffee throughout the day and take five minutes outside when you need it.

4. Throw yourself into the deep end!

The purpose of junior doctor rotations are to give you an insight into a range of different specialties, helping you broaden your experiences and then allowing you to narrow it down to one specialty. That being said, its human nature to have a favourite when we’re presented with choices.  So, during your rotations – try and always keep an open mind.

By staying enthusiastic during your junior doctor rotations, you’ll open yourself up to new procedures, insights, lessons, knowledge and experiences that you may not have if you remain closed and negative. By the end of your junior rotations, you may well unexpectedly love the specialty, gain some special memories or meet some fantastic life-long friends!


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5. Medicine is a team sport

Last but not least, don’t forget that medicine is a team sport. As a doctor, you’ll parachute into many various teams as part of your career and you’ll be faced with plenty of challenges. However, the secret to your success is teamwork. Undoubtedly, teamwork is vital in healthcare delivery as it will directly positively impact patient safety, care and outcomes.

Treating a person’s health often requires a multitude of professionals and experts due to the complexity of the human body. The care of a patient requires a whole team of experts from doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, ward clerks, porters, cleaners, service managers and more!

Medicine is more than just medical knowledge but your ability to engage and communicate with everyone around you regardless of their role and training. By doing so, you are utilising all avenues available to you, making your job that little bit easier!



If you’re unable to secure the specialties of your choice in your foundation years or during the annual junior doctor rotations, why not add on an extra year before you apply for your specialty training?

An FY3 year could provide you with the opportunity to earn money by spending the year working flexible locum shifts, gain a range of experience in your desired specialties and most importantly, pursue other interests after working hard for seven years.

To find out more information on how to make the most out of your FY3 year, we share five great ways to make the most of it here.


Sign up with ID Medical today and we can help you find the perfect flexible role!

If you’re a junior doctor who has decided that taking an FY3 year is the best option for you, ID Medical can help secure you a range of flexible roles to suit your gap year needs. We will guarantee you:

So, if you want to work for three-months, then travel for three-months or you want to work a week on a week off – we will be here to find you a role to suit your needs and help you navigate junior doctor rotations – just email your CV to us at



We’re the UK’s biggest supplier of locum doctors to the NHS – working with 90% of the country’s hospital trusts! If you’re looking to get the best shifts available as a locum or need advice about junior doctor rotations, sign up with us today via the button below!
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