Careers and Foundation Training

Careers Advice

  • UCLMS: Careers events are timetabled in each year of the programme and Medical Student Support Tutors are available to give advice at Student Support Clinics 

    • Dr Paul Dilworth is the lead Student Support Tutor for Careers & Foundation School Transition
    • Student Support Clinic appointments are booked via: medsch.student-support-@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL: Careers advice is accessed via the UCL Careers Service.

  • SLMS: Careers in Academic Medicine.

  • BMA: Working Abroad
  • NHS: Health Careers website

Foundation School Transition

UCLMS: Foundation School transition is supported by the Years 4-6 Team who run the SJT and EPM rankings

Foundation Training

UKFPO: The national application process for Foundation School training is managed by: UKFPO

Information about UK Foundation Schools can be found at:   http://www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/pages/home/deaneries-foundation-schools

Contact details for the London and South East Healthcare Education Team (LaSe HET) are:

F1.lase@hee.nhs.uk (for all F1-related queries)

F2.lase@hee.nhs.uk (for all F2-related queries)

FPenquiries.lase@hee.nhs.uk (for any general query that doesn’t clearly fit into one of the above categories)

Telephone: 020 7866 3216 (9.00am to 5.00pm)

Careers Advice

UCL Medical Careers Advisor and Services

Elaine Denniss

Medical Careers Consultant, UCL Careers Service

Elaine is based in the UCL Careers Service, located on the fourth floor of the Student Central Building, and works closely with the UCL Medical School where she provides 1:1 career counselling and career education talks for each stage of the MBBS programme.  Furthermore, Elaine works with the Psychology and Language Science Department at UCL.

In addition to working with medical students, Elaine has experience of working with doctors at all stages of their careers through her work with the BMA and Health Education England, running career and professional skills workshops and providing 1:1 confidential career counselling.

Elaine offers advice on:

  • career choice
  • applying for electives
  • part-time working
  • cv checking
  • interview skills
  • leaving medicine

One Hour Guidance Discussion with Elaine

These sessions are for a more in-depth discussion of particular issues related to studying medicine or medical career options; they are not suitable for cv checks

To book for an hour session you need to email: careers@ucl.ac.uk with the word ‘MEDIC’ in the title. Elaine will then send you an email to arrange a convenient time and date for your session.

For shorter appointments, go onto the UCL careers website www.ucl.ac.uk/careers, click on MyUCLCareers and from there you can book an appointment. Using the online booking system enables you to book an appointment up to seven days in advance, select the Career Consultant that you would like to see and, if available, choose Medical Student appointment from the ‘type of appointment’ drop down menu. If no Medical Student appointments have been scheduled, you can select one of the central appointments (eg Short Guidance, Long Guidance, Application Advice).

Career Planning and Management

Whilst you are studying for your MBBS, there are various aspects of career management which you can be thinking about and exploring.

Some people have very clear ideas of what sort of medical career they want after they have finished their MBBS, others are less sure and some have no idea yet the direction they want to take. All of three states of career decision making are fine and understandable!

Wherever you currently are on the ‘know exactly where I’m heading’/ ‘where am I?’ continuum of career management, there are various things to be thinking about at each stage of your MBBS to help with your career direction.

Here’s a brief guide outlining some useful questions to ask yourself at each stage of the MBBS and some activities you might like to explore whilst studying for your MBBS.

Year 1

  • What attracted me to studying medicine in the first place?
  • What would I say are my main strengths? What do I want to be better at?
  • Are my expectations about the course and my career realistic?
  • How aware am I of the diverse range of careers within medicine on a scale of 0-10?
  • Attend MBTI workshop, organised by UCL Careers Service throughout the year, to understand more about your personality type and associated strengths and preferences. (See Refer to the Careers Service website for further details at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/students/skills/mbti)

Year 2

  • At this very early stage, what is quite important to me in a career?
  • Which subjects have I enjoyed the most so far and why?
  • Which parts of the course do I find less rewarding and why?
  • Which skills am I taking longer to develop than others?
  • What am I most looking forward to in my later clinical years and why?

Year 3/IBSc

  • Which of the IBSc courses that are available appeal to you and why?
  • How might this course help develop you as a doctor and practitioner?
  • How might this course also develop you as both a scholar and as a scientist?
  • Which skills do you feel you will particularly develop during your IBSc and why?
  • How confident are you in your application skills needed to secure a place on your choice of IBSc?

Year 4

  • Is clinical medicine what I expected or not?
  • How much do I enjoy research and is academic medicine interesting to me?
  • How could I use my SSCs and firms to explore my main career options?
  • In what ways would keeping a self-reflective journal during my clinical years help me in my careers thinking?
  • Which specialities am I starting to become vaguely more interested in and why?
  • How up-to-date is my CV and what could I add to it to improve it?

Year 5

  • How could I learn more from my clinical colleagues about their specialty? (e.g. interviewing, observing)
  • Which core competencies or skills, such as coping with pressure, am I developing and how?
  • How clear is my understanding of the various career paths within medicine?
  • Where else could I find different information on specialties?
  • How might my choice of elective be useful in developing my career management?
  • How confident am I that I could complete the Foundation Programme application form effectively on a scale of 0-10?
  • How up-to-date is my CV now and what could I add to it to improve it?

Year 6

  • Which environments (e.g. Primary Care, hospital-based) do I prefer working in?
  • Is it the actual specialty that I like or rather the particular consultant or firm?
  • What has each rotation taught me about what is important to me in my career?
  • Which aspect of the Foundation Programme am I most looking forward to and why?
  • How would I describe my decision-making style, in terms of my career?
  • How up-to-date is my CV now and what could I add to it to improve it?

Developing your CV

Whilst many medical programmes and jobs use application forms, maintaining an up-to-date CV throughout your medical career can still be useful and valuable. During your MBBS, you may also find a CV a useful format to record your skills and experiences throughout the course. Indeed a CV is sometimes needed when applying for certain electives, for example.

Remember, there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ CV; the most effective CVs are those that are tailored towards a specific role and employer. However there are ways of presenting information in a more coherent, clear and persuasive manner.

Furthermore, medical CVs tend to be more prescriptive in the information that is required, hence medical CVs have no real length limit unlike other professional areas. Nevertheless, a CV suitable for a Foundation doctor is unlikely to be longer than 2 or 3 pages.

Advice on Content:

The main sections of a medical CV are usually as follows:

Personal

  • Name
  • Contact details
  • GMC registration number and registration date (add once achieved!)
  • Medical Defence Union

Qualifications

  • University

    • MBBSAwards
    • Clinical Grades
    • Prizes & Scholarships
    • Intercalated Degree/Previous degrees
  • School A-levels & GCSEs

    • Prizes & Awards

Research

  • Can be either SSC or IBSc project. Include subject, date, supervisor’s name, summary of content, publications and presentations (if applicable)

Electives/SSC

  • When, where, what, who with – brief description, highlight key skills gained both clinical and transferable

Work Experience

  • Medically related
  • Additional

Additional Skills

  • Languages, IT Skills

Interests

  • Think about headlining different types of activity, e.g. Sport, Music etc. Also indicate your level of achievement, e.g. Vice-captain, Grade 8 etc.

References

  • Also ask permission from your potential referees, such as Tutors or Consultants from your SSC, Electives or rotations.

Advice on layout

  • Use CAPITALS, Bold and italics to emphasise your points; but use them sparingly and remember underlining can look a bit outdated.
  • Font size is usually between 10 and 12 for readability and clarity and use a simple font, such as Arial; you want the content, not the layout, to capture their attention.

Visit UCL Careers Service for a 15-minute ‘quick query’ for individual feedback on your CV.

There will also be an opportunity to develop your CV throughout your MBBS course as part of your ongoing portfolio activities.

Reflective Practice through the MBBS programme

Reflective practice is an important part of medical undergraduate and postgraduate training. As you progress through your career, you will need to be able to demonstrate self awareness and a growth mindset as well as being able to provide examples of how you have developed core skills and competencies. These skills include the ability to work well in a team, management and leadership, prioritisation and decision making skills, the ability to cope under pressure and the ability to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity.

It is important, therefore, to identify tools or approaches that will help you to reflect effectively on your work and your professional development. Keeping a reflective diary in your portfolio during your MBBS can be useful in helping to record and track your progress and development over time. There are a range of ways that you may choose to organise your reflective diary and you need to choose the method that best suits you and that will be most use to you when you come to apply for specialty training posts.

Ways of organising a reflective diary

  • Focus on what is meant by the ‘core competencies’, e.g. communication skills, ability to work well in a team, professional behaviour, prioritisation skills, and an ability to cope under pressure, which we know are likely to be assessed during the specialty training application process and beyond.
  • Use these ‘core competencies’ as headings under which you can list particular examples which demonstrate that skill set.
  • Alternatively, you might want to start by reflecting on particularly positive (or negative!) experiences which you have had during your clinical training which you can then ‘unpick’ or analyse in terms of particular skills and competencies.
  • Remember, there is no ‘one right way’ to keep a reflective diary. It is your document and you need to make the experience as practical, useful and relevant to you as possible.

Learning from seeing and doing – A reflective tool

Reflection often tends to focus on the negatives. This model, based on counterfactual thinking (Rose 1997) is a reflective tool that encourages reflection on both the negative and positive elements of a situation.

POSITIVE ACTIONS NEGATIVE ACTIONS
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER?

Was something missed out?

What else might be done?

What would you do more of?

What should have been avoided?

What was unnecessary?

What mistakes were made?

What would you do less of?

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE?

What could have been forgotten?

What would have caused problems if neglected?

What can you learn from?

What mistakes could have been made?

How were mistakes avoided?

What could you have done to do a worse job?

UCLMS Careers Events and Presentations

Year 1 - November

  • Introduction to Careers (CIF Week A)

Year 2 - February

  • Careers in Medicine and Transition to the Clinical Years (CIF Week B)

Year 4 - September

  • Introduction to the Career Management process and information on Foundation School application process (IOM)

Year 5 - September

  • Careers and the Foundation School applications (IOM)
  • Specialty workshops (IOM)
  • Academic Foundation Programme

Year 6 – July of Year 5

  • Foundation Training (IOM)
  • Foundation Programme Application Process (IOM)
  • The Situational Judgment Test and Workshops (IOM)

Career Presentations:

  • Y1 CIF Week A: Introduction to Careers (slides)
  • Y2 CIF Week B: Careers in Medicine and Transition to the Clinical Years (slides)
  • Y5 IOM: Career Planning – Now, During the Foundation Programme and Beyond (September 2016) - Ms Elaine Denniss (slides)
  • Y5 IOM: Situational Judgement Test / Educational Performance Measure (September 2014) - Dr Paul Dilworth (slides)
  • Y5 IOM: Academic Foundation Programme (September 2016) – Prof Paul Griffiths (slides)
  • Y6 IOM: Foundation Training (August 2016) - Dr Hynes (slides)
  • Y6 IOM: Foundation Programme Application Process (August 2016) - Dr Paul Dilworth (slides)
  • Y6 IOM: The Situational Judgment Test (August 2015) - Ms Elaine Denniss (slides
  • Y6 IOM: Situational Judgment Test Workshop (August 2016) - UCL Careers Service (slides)
  • Y6 IOM: The Experience of Applying for Foundation Last Year (August 2016) – F1 Trainees (slides)
  • Y6 IOM: Academic Foundation Programme application support (August 2015) - Drs Swerdlow and Smith (slides)
  • Y6: GMC Provisional Registration Event (October 2015) - Ms Emma Reuben (slides)

Alternative Careers

The vast majority of MBBS graduates go on to train within one of over 60 medical specialities.

Medicine is such an extraordinarily varied profession that the likelihood of finding a specialty that suits your interests, skills and preference is very high.

Nevertheless each year some doctors choose to move away from practising medicine to work within one of the many alternative careers available.

It’s worth remembering that up to 60% of graduate-level jobs are open to all degree disciplines, including medicine. Therefore, if you treat your MBBS like any other degree you can see that you have a wide range of options available to you.

If you are interested in alternative careers to being a doctor, first ask yourself whether you still want to work ‘within medicine’ in some capacity, or whether you’re more interested at looking at opportunities ‘beyond medicine’. This will help to clarify what it is you are looking for and why you are considering leaving the profession.

It can also be valuable to reflect on what parts of your MBBS you have most enjoyed and which parts of the course have you found more challenging. This will give you an insight into alternative options that would suit your preferences and interests. For example, some students really enjoy the problem-solving or analytical aspects of medicine, whilst others get most satisfaction from working closely with patients.

You may find talking things through with a careers adviser or educational adviser may help you to clarify your ideas and generate options to explore further.

To aid your reflection, below are some suggestions of roles which are either linked to medicine in some way or those with are less connected to the field. Remember, these are a few starting points to reflect on; some of these roles will require additional study and training.

Career Alternatives within Medicine examples:

Health policy, medical journalism, medico-legal work, medical (NHS + beyond) management, health economics, medical photography/illustration, medical education, medical statistics, humanitarian relief work, clinical trial management, translational research and development

Career Alternatives beyond Medicine examples:

Management consultancy, psychotherapy, publishing, accountancy, social work, solicitor/barrister work, pharmaceutical research and development, forensic work, public affairs, banking, teaching, central/local government roles.

Resources and Further Information

The NHS Medical Careers website has a useful section on alternative careers.

The vast majority of MBBS graduates go on to train within one of over 60 medical specialities.

Medicine is such an extraordinarily varied profession that the likelihood of finding a specialty that suits your interests, skills and preference is very high.

Nevertheless each year some doctors choose to move away from practising medicine to work within one of the many alternative careers available.

It’s worth remembering that up to 60% of graduate-level jobs are open to all degree disciplines, including medicine. Therefore, if you treat your MBBS like any other degree you can see that you have a wide range of options available to you.

If you are interested in alternative careers to being a doctor, first ask yourself whether you still want to work ‘within medicine’ in some capacity, or whether you’re more interested at looking at opportunities ‘beyond medicine’. This will help to clarify what it is you are looking for and why you are considering leaving the profession.

It can also be valuable to reflect on what parts of your MBBS you have most enjoyed and which parts of the course have you found more challenging. This will give you an insight into alternative options that would suit your preferences and interests. For example, some students really enjoy the problem-solving or analytical aspects of medicine, whilst others get most satisfaction from working closely with patients.

You may find talking things through with a careers adviser or educational adviser may help you to clarify your ideas and generate options to explore further.

To aid your reflection, below are some suggestions of roles which are either linked to medicine in some way or those with are less connected to the field. Remember, these are a few starting points to reflect on; some of these roles will require additional study and training.

Career Alternatives within Medicine examples:

Health policy, medical journalism, medico-legal work, medical (NHS + beyond) management, health economics, medical photography/illustration, medical education, medical statistics, humanitarian relief work, clinical trial management, translational research and development

Career Alternatives beyond Medicine examples:

Management consultancy, psychotherapy, publishing, accountancy, social work, solicitor/barrister work, pharmaceutical research and development, forensic work, public affairs, banking, teaching, central/local government roles.

Resources and Further Information

External Resources

Professional Bodies and Professional Organisations

The British Medical Association (BMA) (Need to register)

www.bma.org.uk

Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans

www.copmed.org.uk

The Postgraduate Medical Education & Training Board

www.gmc-uk.org/education/postgraduate.asp

The General Medical Council (GMC)

www.gmc-uk.org

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

www.aomrc.org.uk

Medical School Council

www.medschools.ac.uk/Pages/default.aspx

PG Medical & Dental Education in London and the South East

http://www.lpmde.ac.uk/

Support for Doctors:

Brief psychological interventions for postgraduate medical and dental trainees http://www.lpmde.ac.uk/professional-development/php-hee

The Doctors’ Support Network

www.dsn.org.uk

Medical Defence Union

www.themdu.com

The British Medical Association – Employment Advice

www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment

Online resilience training

http://resiliencefordoctors.com/online-course

Career Information

The Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board

http://www.lpmde.ac.uk/training-programme/specialty-schools

Health Education England - careers website for health professionals (includes information on all speciality pathways)

www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/Explore-roles

BMJ Careers:

http://careers.bmj.com/

BMJ Career articles:

http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/advice-overview.html

Applying to Foundation Training

Oriel - UK wide portal for recruitment to postgraduate medical, dental, public health and healthcare science training programmes.

www.oriel.nhs.uk

UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) – information on how to apply to the Foundation Programme and the F1/F2 stand-alone programmes

www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk

Situational Judgement Tests Practice/Advice

http://sjt.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk

http://student.bmj.com/student/view-article.html?id=sbmj.h4279

Messly – online tool and blog - rates hospitals and rotations nationally (based on GMC survey data) plus qualitative feedback from trainees

www.messly.co.uk/category/foundation-programme

Application to Specialty

NHS/Health Education England - speciality training website

http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk

Oriel - UK wide portal for recruitment to postgraduate medical, dental, public health and healthcare science training programmes.

www.oriel.nhs.uk

Core medical training and Acute Care Common Stem - detailed information to help you when applying for 2017 CT1 posts

www.ct1recruitment.org.uk

GP Recruitment

https://gprecruitment.hee.nhs.uk/Recruitment

Further information about applications to specific specialities can be found on the websites of the Lead Recruiters. For list of Lead Recruiters:

http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk/Recruitment/Application-guidance

Messly – online tool and blog - rates hospitals and rotations nationally (based on GMC survey data

http://www.messly.co.uk

Academic Medicine and Research

Integrated Academic Pathways for Doctors and Dentists

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/funding-for-training-and-career-development/training-programmes/integrated-academic-training-programme

National Institute for Health Research

https://www.nihr.ac.uk

The Academy of Medical Sciences

https://acmedsci.ac.uk

http://www.acmedsci.ac.uk/grants-and-schemes/mentoring-and-other-schemes/INSPIRE

Medical Research Council

www.mrc.ac.uk

Association of Medical Research Charities

www.amrc.org.uk

Wellcome Trust

https://wellcome.ac.uk/

Acamedics (opportunities for research projects)

http://acamedics.org/EPage.aspx?id=4

Women in Medicine

Medical Women's Federation

http://www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk/

Association of Women Surgeons

www.womensurgeons.org/

Working outside the UK

BMA (British Medical Association International Department)

https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/career/going-abroad/working-abroad

Medics Travel

http://www.medicstravel.com/

US Association of Medical Schools

www.aamc.org

American Medical Association

www.ama-assn.org/go/imgs

Australian Medical Association

www.ama.com.au

Canadian Medical Association

www.cma.ca

New Zealand Medical Association

www.nzma.org.nz

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

www.msf.org

Doctors of the World

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/

RedR

www.redr.org.uk

Voluntary Services Overseas

www.vso.org.uk

Guidestar - database of charities working overseas

www.guidestar.org.uk/default.aspx

International Health Exchange

www.ihe.org.uk

London International Development Centre

http://www.lidc.org.uk/


Foundation Training

Foundation School Applications: The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) at UCLMS

Information about the SJT can be found on the UKFPO website at: http://www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/pages/fp-afp/applicant-guidance/SJT/EPM.

All UCLMS students take the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) at the December sitting except for those who are taking an SSC abroad or a remote GP placement at that time.

Local arrangements for UCLMS students to sit the SJT are made by the UCLMS Year 6 team, who will disseminate information as it becomes available and send reporting instructions during the autumn term.

Foundation School Applications: The Educational Performance Measure (EPM) at UCLMS

Information about the EPM can be found on the UKFPO website at: http://www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/pages/fp-afp/applicant-guidance/SJT/EPM The Foundation School application process requires Medical Schools to rank their students by decile.

At UCLMS, decile ranks are calculated on the basis of marks achieved in the summative examinations in Year 4 and Year 5 (penultimate year) with a 50:50 weighting. 

For MBPhD students who entered the shortened MBPhD programme prior to and including July 2012, decile ranks are normally based on Year 5 marks only because these cohorts took their Year 4 examinations formatively, but may be based on Year 4 and Year 5 where it is in the student’s favour to do so. 

The calculation currently excludes marks from the earlier years of the programme to enable all students, including our large transfer entry into Year 4, to be ranked against the same basket of UCLMS assessments.

The formula used to calculate decile rankings is:  (Year 4 mean)*0.5 + (Year 5 mean)*0.5                     

The marks contributing to decile rankings are: 

Year 4 written total: Year 4 OSCE total: Year 5 written total: Year 5 OSCE total:

In compliance with UKFPO requirements, UCLMS rankings:

  • exclude pass/fail outcomes
  • are based on 1st entry examination results
  • are calculated for the cohort entering Year 6 and not in relation to the original cohorts in which students took Year 4 or Year 5 examinations
  • treat all students as a single cohort
  • include students who have applied to the academic Foundation programme
  • carry forward original rankings for students who have delayed their application to Foundation Training
  • carry forward original rankings for withdrawn or re-sit finalists (as the contributing marks are drawn from assessments taken up to the time of FS application) 

Foundation School Applications: Medical School References

UKFPO will ask you to name 2 referees when you submit your application in October. One referee must be from the Medical School and will be your Personal Tutor except where students have been pre-allocated to Student Support Tutors or where a Personal Tutor has left. You will receive notification of the name of your Medical School referee from the Year 6 team in September of Year 6. The reference provided by the Medical School referee is brief as it is used primarily for pre-employment checks. The referee named to you by the Medical School will be sent all the information needed to complete the reference, namely your decile ranking and examination result, towards the end of September. However as a courtesy, students are advised to contact their Personal Tutor before naming him/her in their application to discuss whether their Tutor would like to meet prior to providing the reference.

You should nominate the second referee yourself, after seeking permission from the person you wish to choose. The second referee should be a consultant or GP who knows you well and is, therefore, in a position to provide a more personal reference.   

First and second referees will be prompted by UKFPO to submit their reference on-line in March/April.