In May-June19 as an F2 I had received an offer for IMT training. I had however rejected this offer and taken an F3 job instead. Around March 2019, cases of CoVid19 had started peaking and I had stayed in for a further 4 months in my General Practice job. This meant that I would have only had 1 rotation in General Medicine (Respiratory) during my foundation years. Realising that I would require further experience in general medicine, I applied for the specialist medicine junior clinical fellow (F3 equivalent) job that was advertised on NHS jobs. This involved filling up the application form which was similar to the IMT application form, detailing why I was interested in the job, explaining my portfolio, and why I was qualified for the job. After the shortlisting, an interview was carried out which involved discussion of a clinical scenario, ethics and my portfolio.

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss my experiences in this F3 job so far. One of the benefits of doing an F3 job before going into training is that this is an opportunity to build one’s portfolio. The rota for this trust allows for ample time in the evenings to score points for further applications.

There are also plenty of opportunities to do procedures like lumbar punctures, ascitic taps, NG tube insertion and be taught chest drains. During my four months in neurology I have been signed off to do lumbar punctures independently, was able to attend clinics where my neurology examination techniques were refined by the supervising consultants and improved on my neurological knowledge. This experience will definitely help me feel more confident before embarking on the next step. All of the competencies obtained can be recorded on the JRCPTB portfolio which was sponsored by the trust. I also had the opportunity to attend the excellent IMPACT(Ill Medical Patient’s Acute Care and Treatment) which helped boost my knowledge and confidence in the management of acutely ill medical patients.

Throughout the rest of my F3 year as I move onto the respiratory rotation and then gastroenterology, I hope to be able to pick up more clinical skills, build on my knowledge base and gain more confidence in medicine. This should prepare my for IMT training and I would be able to learn better by building on my extra year of experience in F3.

Overall the main benefit of doing an F3 job for me was to work on my portfolio, take some time to study for the MRCP, and improve on my clinical and diagnostic skills before the next step in training. Some of my colleagues have taken the opportunity to have a rotation period of 4 months off (yes, this can be negotiated) to travel or take a break as well. The only cons that I can think off is that this may delay the start of further training and the time taken to become a consultant, but is there any rush? The experience gained and the benefits of being able to improve one’s portfolio is invaluable and I would definitely recommend doing an F3 year to anyone considering their next step after F2.

Article Written by Dr. Ryan Stanley Gomez