A Week in the Life of... A NEW FY1


My first day after a very relaxing weekend was a very busy on call shift. A surgical on call shift runs from 8am to 9pm and we are the surgical “take team”. This means we see all the referrals from A&E and GP, and we also attend trauma calls. The team usually consists of an FY1, SHO and registrar. There is also a consultant on call, and all the patients are admitted under them, but they usually cover the emergency theatre list during the day whilst we see the referrals. We didn’t get many referrals in the morning, so I kindly helped out with the normal ward round.

Around midday we got our first trauma call – a road traffic accident. A trauma call is attended by the on call surgical team, orthopaedics and the anaesthetist. I really enjoy attending trauma calls as you usually get to see some pretty interesting stuff, however there isn’t much for the FY1 to do so we’re usually a spare part. This time, however, I was asked to put in a cannula whilst they assessed the patient. It was a very high pressured situation so I got performance anxiety and couldn’t insert the cannula – luckily everyone was too busy to notice and the A&E nurse quickly swooped in to take over! Two months in and my cannula success rate is only about 50% but I’m getting there... I hope!

After the trauma call, the referrals started coming in one after the other and I spent most of the day running around the hospital clerking patients. It took me 2 months but I finally know my way around the hospital. My average step count is about 12,000 per day but today it’s been 15,000. Who needs the gym when you’re an FY1 on general surgery?!


When I started this morning I still hadn’t recovered from the day before, so I decided to quickly get a coffee before I went onto the ward. In our hospital NHS staff get free hot drinks, so you can imagine how many times I go there in one day (hint: at least twice). I’m glad I decided to squeeze in that coffee because today was equally as busy, for some reason all of our patients had multiple jobs that needed to be done. I spent a significant amount of time begging the on call radiologist to approve my CT requests then chasing the results of these scans and updating our registrar who was doing the emergency theatre list. One thing I’ve learnt about being an FY1 is that the bulk of the job is administrative work. You’ll spend a lot of time ordering and chasing scans and bloods – particularly on general surgery. The only time you get to clerk a patient is when you’re on call so I’d recommend making the most of this time – it gives you a chance to practice those communication skills they drilled into you at medical school!

Before I left I sat down and updated “The List”. On our first day the registrar stressed how important it was that the list was updated everyday to ensure the ward round runs smoothly so I make sure to do this before I leave each day! After work a few of us decided to get some drinks to vent about our days. One great thing about being a surgical FY1 is that there are so many of us which is great for getting know one another, and teams often help each other out when it gets a bit crazy!


Today we only had 20 patients on our list, which is pretty average for us! I was the only FY1 in my team today, but luckily I had 2 SHO’s and 1 registrar with me which helped! When you have a good team, it makes a huge difference and can often be the deciding factor on whether you leave on time or not!

Today’s ward round was particularly long; we didn’t finish until around 12.30 pm. By the end of the ward round I was dying for a coffee but I had a meeting about exception reporting with the medical education lead at our hospita