Powerful Questions Every F3 Doctor Should Ask Themselves This January
At the start of each New Year, many people feel the urge to close the door on the year behind them and set new goals for the year ahead. For F3 doctors, January can and should mean something else entirely.
If you left training in August, then the New Year marks nearly six full months into your F3 Year. While the rest of the world is goal-setting for the next 12 months, January is a perfect time for you to take stock of your progress, goals, and aspirations for the rest of your time out of training.
Checking in with your F3 goals and recalibrating your internal compass can ensure that you spend the next six months achieving exactly what you wanted to from this exciting career move. We call this reflection on your progress and challenges a ‘Pulse Check.’
Think of a Pulse Check as an A-E assessment. Use it to review key areas of your life and goals to check their 'health' and identify things you can do to improve in each area. Doing this regularly can keep you on track to have the F3 Year of your dreams.
In this article, you will find an abridged version of the reflective exercises and prompts from our F3 Pulse Check Workbook.
You can access the full workbook to use on your own by clicking here, or you can join us in our upcoming webinar by clicking here. If you are happy to continue with the abridged version, then keep reading!
🤔 Why do a Pulse Check
A pulse check is a powerful tool that successful people use to help ensure they meet their goals and learn from their challenges and mistakes. As an F3 doctor, a pulse check can be used to help you:
👉 Remember why you initially chose to do an F3 Year
👉 Review your progress against your initial F3 goals
👉 Reflect on your achievements and challenges so far
👉 Plan the remainder of your F3 Year to help you meet your goals
👉 Start the process of deciding what comes after F3
✅ How to do a Pulse Check
A Pulse Check means answering a series of questions to help you understand yourself and your circumstances more deeply. Sometimes this can trigger difficult emotions as you explore negative events or challenges you've faced.
The key when doing a Pulse Check is to be non-judgmental and descriptive when considering your answers to these questions rather than ruminating on guilt, shame, blame, and negativity. However, if you are too uncomfortable to answer a particular question, then please feel free to skip it. You don’t need to use our prompts, but they can serve as a useful guide if you struggle to come up with meaningful reflective questions yourself.
Though you can simply think about your answers to the prompts, you will generally find there is more value if you write something down. Whether it's long-form answers, mind maps, word clouds, or lists of keywords and phrases - it is completely up to you.
The benefit of writing something down is that it serves as a record of your thoughts and progress, and can be used again and again each time you do a Pulse Check. This data can help you identify patterns, bottlenecks, or hurdles, and help you keep track of your successes too.
🤩 A - Aspirations
🔹 What were your main reasons for taking an F3 year? How do you feel about those reasons now?
🔹 Do you feel fulfilled in the following domains? How has this changed since you started F3?
🔸 Professional development
🔸 Learning and knowledge
🔸 Friends and Family
🔸 Personal Development
🔸 Fun and Recreation
🔹 Which three people are you most grateful for and why?
😃 B - Best Moments
🔹 What have been your the best memories, successes, and achievements of the last 6 months?
🔹 What do you enjoy about being out of training?
🔹 What have you done in the last six months that you am most proud of and why?
🔹 What has been the most rewarding part of your work since starting F3?
🔹 What skill have you improved over the last six months?
🔹 Which three photographs from the last six months captured your happiest moments?
🏔 C - Challenges
🔹 What do you miss about being in training and how can you incorporate these things into your F3 career?
🔹 Which opportunities did you miss out on over the last six months?
🔹 What decisions do you regret from the last six months?
🔹 What actions or decisions did you take over the last six months that contributed to your biggest failure?
🔹 If you could live the last six months again, what would you spend more or less time doing?
🧭 D - Direction
🔹 What project, skill, or habit do you wish you had devoted more time to over the last six months and what is stopping you from changing that today?
🔹 If you knew you couldn’t fail, how would you spend your time and energy for the rest of your F3 year?
🔹 Are you getting the experience and opportunities that you expected and if not, what is stopping you from getting those opportunities?
🔹 How does this F3 experience bring you closer to the person you want to be in 10 years?
🔹 Do you know what you plan to do after F3 ends and what steps have you taken to secure the outcome that you want?
💪 E - Experience
🔹 Think of 100 actions you can take this year (each one should take no more than a couple hours to achieve) that would make you feel fulfilled.
Congratulations, you have now done a Pulse Check! Hopefully you now can appreciate how far you have come, identify what you did well or could have done better, understand what you need to do next to get where you want to be, and have a list of things you’d like to do to make your F3 year one of your best and most successful years ever.
📚 Additional Resources
The final step is to check out the additional resources which will help you meet your F3 goals (we suspect that appraisal features on the list of things you need to do over the next six months). Messly has an incredible trove of resources and articles specifically written for F3 doctors which you can check out by clicking the links below.
👉 Portfolio Companion has everything you need to know about portfolios and appraisal in our Portfolio companion, including templates, worked examples, and specific appraisal guides for F3 doctors.
👉 F3 Hub has the best of Messly's content, guides, and videos for planning your F3 year.
👉 F3 Planning Workbook and Webinar is the OG F3 goal-setting workbook and workshop for budding F3s.
👉 Find out how locuming works, get quick answers to your locum questions, and register for Messly's Locum Finding Service.
👉 Messly’s Australia and New Zealand Ultimate Guide and selection of live jobs.
👉 For exam dates and details, specialty applications, and UK clinical fellowship and trust grade jobs.
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