F3 Stories Interview with Gursevak Singh: Locuming vs Clinical Fellowship
In our latest F3 Stories interview we talk to Gursevak Singh, a current ST3 in Intensive Care Medicine in the North West. He spent his F3 year as a locum doctor after Foundation training, then went on to do a clinical fellow job for a year, before starting Core Medical Training.
In this interview, we discuss why Gursevak chose to do an F3 year, how he planned it, why he then took a clinical fellow job, and how his career progression went afterwards.
Finally, he’s got some top tips for anyone planning an F3 year now, whether to go into locuming or taking clinical fellowships, so look out for those at the end!
Taking an F3 year was less common a few years ago than it is now. What made you want to take an F3 year?
🎙️ I’d never had any gaps in my career at the time, so I was looking for some time to relax, have flexibility, and be able to take time off when I wanted to. I also wanted to have some time where I didn’t need to worry about my portfolio or training targets.
How did you organise your F3 year?
🎙️ One of my consultants during my F2 year knew that I wanted to take an F3. They told me about an upcoming gap and asked me to stay on for it as a locum doctor. I spoke to the rota co-ordinator for Medicine about it and signed up to the locum agency they worked with the most. I worked the full-time rota gap position for a year.
How did you arrange to be paid?
🎙️ I was paid via a limited company, which was much more common at the time, and set up with an accountancy firm that the locum agency recommended.
What did you do after your F3 year?
🎙️ I chose a clinical fellowship job in Gastroenterology in a tertiary centre. I wanted that particular job because I’d heard it was good for learning opportunities and gaining skills that I could use to help with specialty applications.
I wanted the clinical fellowship because I wanted to do something that might be more recognised towards training. Afterwards, when I applied to Core Medical Training, I was told it couldn’t count towards any training time, but I got some great learning opportunities.
How do you think your time out of training affected your career progression?
🎙️ It didn’t adversely affect my application at all. I didn’t get any questions about it during my interview. It seems to be a common thing now, and doesn’t seem to be something that they’re bothered about for applications.
I think both of the jobs helped me. I had experience in Acute Medicine and a variety of things during medical on-calls with my locum jobs, and then got more tertiary-level experience during my Gastro fellowship so I could demonstrate commitment to the specialty.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
🎙️ I could have made better use of my time to get publications or presentations. Working in one place for a year was a good opportunity to get a project done.
I would have done more research into accountancy firms, and would've taken recommendations from colleagues rather than the agency as they weren’t always particularly helpful or easy to get hold of.
Can you share any tips for F2s looking to do an F3 now?
🎙️ Yes, absolutely. My advice would be:
1. Know exactly what you want to get out of the job. If you have specific goals for a specialty, or a publication or audit, make sure the opportunity will be there and focus on it.
2. Negotiate and find your own work with rota co-ordinators, and they can arrange it with the agency for you. Personal relationships can work better than relying on the agency to find work for you.
3. Don’t stick to one area if it’s not what you want to do.
4. If you’re using an accountancy firm, shop around.
If you found this article useful, why not check out our other F3 Stories Podcasts. Dr Katy Stevenson tells us about her interesting role as a Lecturer during her F3 year, and Dr Amelia Webber shares her experiences as a full-time O&G locum.
This interview is part of a wider series, supporting doctors like yourself with a comprehensive set of guidance and resources to ensure your F3 year is a success. This covers everything from initial planning, options for moving abroad, help with finding work, and tips for making the most of the experience. Click here to visit our F3 Resource Hub to explore the full list of guides and articles.
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