The SCAN Career Planning Model = Self Awareness - Career Exploration - Arriving at a decision - Next Steps
What should you consider when planning a year out of training (F3 and other options)?
The following resources/links will highlight key considerations and information to enable you to effectively plan an F3/GAP year that meets your personal and professional needs. This section covers;
- Why take a year out of training and what to consider
- What are the main options both clinical and non-clinical
- How to research the options
- Key information on retaining you licence to practice.
F3 Options Webinar
This webinar looks at the variety of different F3 options available including Locum, SAS, Fellowships, Teaching, PG Courses and non clinical work as well as useful resources to gain further insight
Firstly, don’t feel guilty for deciding to take a break. It can be beneficial ! - It is perfectly acceptable to take some time during an F3 to reset/rebalance/recharge from the challenges of FY programme and the impact of the Covid pandemic on your training.
Reconsidering your career choice?
It can be a great opportunity to reflect on what you have enjoyed, what has been challenging or unenjoyable; on what you would want to change? And how much Medicine fulfils you.
1.– Get away from your normal life so you can reflect on how and why you are feeling this way
2.- Medical schools may not have communicated how you can diversify your career. You don’t have to be on a one stop train to consultancy – you can change trains, or take a car to the next station and then jump on again. Doctors can take career breaks medical and non medical
3.What did you used to enjoy about medicine, what gave you fulfilment?
4.Sometimes in the NHS it can be difficult to like medicine all the time and the recent political decisions may have upturned some unrest in your mind. In these situations it is hard to know if a change could refresh your love of it. Could a different speciality, some part time work or a year or two out give you that sense of perspective?
How can taking a break from training help you?
# It can help build or strengthen experience in terms of particular specialty areas, getting involved in projects/audits/presentations – showing commitment
# It can give you the time to study/ take exams/ complete portfolio evidence
# It can afford you the opportunity to gain exposure to different procedures to develop confidence
# You may opt for some time to rest and recuperate, while reflecting on what you have enjoyed/found challenging in Medicine so far thereby developing your self awareness of your needs and priorities going forward and which specialties may best meet them, while also providing the opportunity to plug gaps in knowledge/experience
# Income my be a priority for a particular event such as buying a house or paying for a wedding etc. so locuming may be appropriate for you where you have the capacity to earn more.
Maintaining your medical career during a break
•Keep your professional subscriptions up to date with your training status—the BMA and other organisations may offer reduced fees if your income is below a certain threshold.
•Consider whether you wish to apply for further training during your F3 year, as application and interview dates need to be taken into account, particularly if you are going overseas.
•Keep your portfolio up to date during your Foundation Programme and F3 year. Evidence of achievements and audits and reference letters from supervisors can be much more difficult to obtain once you have completed a post. This evidence can also be used for your appraisal.
The benefits to taking time out of training include the opportunity to travel, build skills and knowledge through clinical or non-clinical work, further explore career options, boost CV and take a break for your wellbeing from study.
Deciding to take an F3 can be for a variety of reasons - To gain key skills and experience for a speciality application, prepare audits, research, posters, take or retake exams, post-graduate study and travel/recharge your batteries after Foundation/Core training to name a few. The F3 year is increasingly becoming a popular option, this article shows how quickly the popularity has grown over recent years.
What are my options? Examples of F3 activities are
Important information for all doctors out of training
Revalidation and updating your portfolio while taking time out of training (add more)
- In order to continue practising as a doctor, you will need to keep your GMC registration and licence to practise.
- If you’re going straight into a training programme (GP or specialty) you can find all you need to know here
- As a doctor, you are responsible for ensuring that you do everything needed to revalidate and maintain your licence to practise medicine.
Fellowships are available in a variety of areas such as clinical, teaching, research, management and leadership, digital and entrepreneurial development.
- Usually One Year posts Split time between project work, teaching and clinical practice (some 100% teaching/research/management). However some clinical fellowships can be shorter
- Achievement of Foundation Competencies lasts 3 years
- ST1 equivalent but always check eligibility
- They can be based in Trusts or health related organisations such as HEE or CCG/PCNs
- Some offer additional qualifications such as PG Cert in Medical education or PG Cert Leadership Health NHS Jobs
- Watch out for 18 month rule
Here are some key resources for those considering fellowships
•Working and volunteering abroad are always popular F3 options and there are a wide range excellent websites for initial research such as Plan my F3, Messly, BMJ and Adventure Medic to name a few. But what should you consider?
•What areas of work would you consider?
Secondary and primary care, expedition medicine and working for charities are all popular offering options in clinical, education and project work. However consider areas of need especially in countries such as Australia – this may limit additional qualifications
•Various agencies offer medical jobs abroad but you should check out the service they offer in in terms of visas, accommodation etc and get everything in writing. You can also approach hospitals direct with your CV. In terms of expedition and volunteering options level of experience and any additional qualifications required should be considered.
•Time and Money: Can take up to 6 months from job offer stage. Examinations, medicals, Vaccinations, Covid Certificates, visas, registration, training, flights – courses – Tropical Diploma/ATLS/NLS
•If you are working as a doctor in the UK, you will need to be Registered with a Licence to Practise. In order to maintain your licence, you are required to: 1. Collect supporting information about your full scope of practice. 2. Have an annual medical appraisal conducted by an appropriately trained appraiser. 3. Revalidate your licence every five years through. This is an important consideration for both those wishing to work abroad and those thinking of taking trust grade or locum jobs. You may not need a licence to work abroad but if you do keep you licence you will have to meet evidence and possibly revalidation requirements. Further information can be found on the GMC website
•Speciality Interview timeline – Identify your timeline in terms of working abroad and your potential availability for Speciality interviews. These may well revert to face to face rather than virtual interviews
•As mentioned previously the BMJ Carers Fair held every October holds a variety of workshops or webinars on working abroad/ volunteering for further information
Work & travel abroad
Speciality training is not for all, or at least not immediately after foundation training so trust grade/locum work can offer a variety of short or long term benefits to doctors such as more autonomy in choosing shifts and getting experience without the limitations on work-life balance such as nights/on-calls
# Trust grade roles can be fixed term or permanent with opportunities to develop expertise in a specialist clinical area.
# Competenices can still be aggregated using the CESR or CEGPR frameworks as outlined by the GMC. It should however be noted collating and gaining sign off for evidence is the individual trust doctors responsibility, as is seeking out training and research opportunities.
If you are working as a doctor in the UK, you will need to be Registered with a Licence to Practise. In order to maintain your licence, you are required to:
1. Collect supporting information about your full scope of practice.
2. Have an annual medical appraisal conducted by an appropriately trained appraiser.
3. Revalidate your licence every five years through. This is an important consideration for both those wishing to work abroad and those thinking of taking trust grade or locum jobs. You may not need a licence to work abroad but if you do keep you licence you will have to meet evidence and possibly revalidation requirements. Further information can be found on the GMC website
Non-training clinical jobs (staff grade & locum)
Further Study is another popular F3 option with trainees – whether it is completing and entering posters or presentations, completing audits or undertaking further qualifications such as Tropical Medicine, Medical education, ATLS or research competencies
- Use the opportunity to undertake a PG/Masters in a relevant area
- loans and scholarships can be available through the Student Loans scheme or individual HEIs
The HE Prospects website has a useful PG course search function and further information on PG loans.