This article assumes you've read through the guidance on the FPAS website. If you haven't, have a read through the applicant handbook and a flick through the presentation. If you've done that and still have questions then there is a great FAQ available again on the FPAS website. I will update this section on how to prepare for the SJT but for now I will focus on ranking jobs. Please ask any questions below!

About me:
I am an FY1 working in the same DGH on the edge of London for 2 years. I've listed my jobs in order below:
F1: General Surgery, Respiratory, Geriatrics (unbanded)
F2: Paediatrics, Obs & Gynae, Emergency Medicine

Knowing which deanieries & jobs to apply to is incredibly difficult. The things to think about are what is most important to you of the following factors?
  • Location
  • Specialty
  • Income
  • Difficulty

Money/Location: These things are invariably linked. If you pick somewhere close to where you live you will save a lot of money on accomodation. You get up to an extra of £2,162 for working in London (which barely covers the cost of living in London!).

  • No on calls rota (formerly known as 'unbanded'): 40 hours per week and annual income of £26,350 (a.k.a basic salary)
  • On call rota (formerly known as 'banded'): 48 hours average per week with annual wage of ~£32,000

The above figures are based on the new 2016 Junior Doctor Contract, affecting juniors only in England, where you are paid per hour that you are rostered (rota'd) for rather than a lump sum for each rotation. For more information on how pay is calculated check out the BMA.

On calls: Different hospitals massively vary in the amount of on calls provided to FY1s. The vast majority offer on calls but some do not allow FY1s to work nights and a select few hardly any at all. Typically FY1s will have some jobs which are and aren't 'banded' making the annual salary something between the two figures quoted above. 

Difficulty: The obvious advantage of an unbanded rota is having much more free time but at the expense of learning. On calls are much more difficult as you deal with emergencies rather than the day to day work of mostly administrative work on the wards. Jobs marked as "supernumerary" means the lack of on calls which is often the case for specialties such as Paediatrics or O&G, whereas certain jobs are always very busy: surgery, respiratory (especially during the winter) and frequently less well supported. The advantage of supernumerary jobs are being able to take time to do audits, teaching and clinics - which is great in your final placement. Sometimes people do them early on to ease themselves into the FY1 life, although you may find yourself suddenly doing on calls in your second placement with little preparation (and with people expecting you to be competent as you're one placement in).  

F1 vs F2: The roles of FY1s and FY2s is very different. The latter are additionally expected to be on take, help in clinics and sometimes hold the bleep for referrals. The FY1 to FY2 jump can be even more massive than the one from medical school to FY1. 

Specialties: All the above information guides you to how to pick specialties. If you know what career you want to do, then definitely pick that job but your experience of that job will vary depending on whether you do it as an F1 or F2. Furthermore, as specialty applications are in November of F2, only your first F2 placement is of any help. That said, many F1s and F2s will find that they aren't given the jobs they originally applied for depending on staffing requirements. You may switch from one surgical or medical specialty to another but very rarely will you completely change jobs. 

Type of hospital: Hospitals can also be split into DGHs or tertiary hospitals. Often you get much more experience in DGH hospitals as you get the normal conditions rather than super specialised stuff. This means you may get more opportunity to acquire new skills such as drains, lumbar punctures etc. However, if your interests are very specific than your specialty may only be available in the inner city hospitals. 

Key questions to ask F1s at a hospital you're considering are:
  • The availability of accomodation
  • What jobs they recommend and which posts are banded/unbanded
  • Anything they highly recommend against
  • What opportunities are there in terms of courses and teaching
  • What is the social life like (in most hospitals this is usually great)

I hope that explains things I felt I wish I'd known before ranking jobs but if there's any more questions, please ask below!


17 March 2017 at 23:02 delete

Thank you very much for the great advice