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What should I expect on my first day/week/month?

  • April 11, 2018

What should I expect on my first day/week/month?

Starting a new job is stressful, but starting a new job in a new country can be nerve-wracking. In addition, it is likely that your training culture will be different to that in the UK, so there will be a lot to learn whilst adapting to a new environment. However, this article focuses on providing you with an insight on what to expect on your first day, week and month of joining the NHS and some helpful tips when starting your new job as a Doctor in the NHS.

Before you start


  • Keep your original certificates (PMQ, PLAB, GMC certificate, immunisation records etc) and photocopies of your passport and visa in one folder and bring it to your induction day at the hospital
  • Organise medical defence cover and keep your certificate safe and bring it to your induction. It is fundamental to have adequate and appropriate insurance covering the full scope of your medical practice. The type of cover you need is dependent on your personal circumstances. However, popular options for UK Doctor’s are the Medical Defence Union and Medical Protection Society. Please note that we will be writing an article with a specific focus on medical defence cover but if you have any further questions in the meantime don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
  • Apply for a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance through the HR department at your hospital
  • Ensure you have your BRP card as the hospital will take a copy of this along with your passport and other documents
  • Ensure you have your National Insurance number accessible to give to the HR department so they can process your salary in the first month you begin at the hospital

Contact the Hospital

  • Contact the HR department to confirm whether you need to visit Occupational Health
  • Know the hospital dress code, if it is appropriate to wear scrubs and the hospital policy on scrubs
  • If possible ask the hospital if you can come in for some taster days, this way you will feel more confident when you start your position
  • Check if you need to bring passport sized photos for your ID card
  • Confirm the hospital’s address and ensure you know how to get there before your first day
  • Ask HR to contact the IT department to receive your computer log-ins and passwords as this can be time-consuming so it would be useful to have these details prior to starting

Starting your new position


  • Sign in if expected to do so
  • If you need a car parking space ask to register your car and the cost of parking
  • Obtain a copy of your contract and have your bank details to hand to organise your salary payment
  • Enquire about joining the NHS pension scheme
  • Ask for a map of the hospital


  • Meet your team before starting
  • Ask if there are any departmental guidelines which you are expected to follow and ask to read these before your formal start
  • Ask how to best contact your seniors during the day and night
  • Look over the relevant College website for national guidance and training

First day in the hospital

Your first day at the hospital will be an induction. Make sure you always have your ID badge on you and that you have made a note of all the relevant access codes around the hospital. Next, if you are expected to carry a bleep know where to collect it from, understand how the bleep system works and try and note/learn the most important numbers. Lastly, find out who your clinical and educational supervisor is because these will be the clinicians that will provide you with support throughout your post.

First week in the hospital

The first week at the hospital will continue to be an induction and will be all about getting your bearings. You will be learning service processes and procedures, how to write up hospital notes, drug charts and discharge summaries. Other activities include taking patient history and conducting examinations, updating patients on their progress, and other common administrative tasks such as writing prescriptions. During your first week, it will be important to introduce yourself to all members of your team including nurses, pharmacists, and social workers, who you will have regular contact with concerning the care of your patients. One tip is to create a WhatsApp group of other Doctor’s, so if you need to swap a shift or are running late you can contact your colleagues.

First month in the hospital

By the time you have worked in the hospital for a month, you should have found your feet and started to take control of your learning. Please note that during your first month you will be on a reduced rota until you, your clinical supervisor and educational supervisor are satisfied that you can begin the role independently.  This reduced rota could continue for up to three months and you will be placed on a full-time rota when you feel you are confident enough with all NHS procedures and protocols. During this month it would be useful for you to have a list of useful numbers such as the x-ray department or registrar on call for a quick reference, attend relevant courses, and make use of your mentor. In addition, you should have begun to use your national training e-portfolio as this allows you to create your educational personal development plan, note any assessments you have obtained and state your self-evaluation. Please note that if you want to book off any annual leave then be sure to contact the HR department six weeks before the date.

Helpful tips to remember when starting your new position

-Doctor’s work long and stressful hours, therefore, it is important that you try to avoid becoming stressed and overwhelmed. To prevent this ensure you get enough sleep, take regular breaks throughout the day and remember to book off annual leave to give your body time to recuperate.

-Try to work efficiently when on a ward round as this will save you time and prevent stress. Before the round starts ensure you are organised by having easy access to relevant numbers, notes, and forms and be sure to establish a routine so nothing gets missed.

-If you don’t know what to do or are unsure about a patient’s condition, ask for help. It is better to get a second opinion than risk someone’s health.

-Keep learning! Try to find time for research, lunch-time teaching and shadowing as this can improve your skills and patient care.

If you are an IMG who is considering moving to the UK and working for the NHS then get in contact with us by sending your CV to [email protected] – and one of our specialist advisors will be able to provide you with tailored advice. 


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