VIDEO: The BEST F3 Options for Junior Doctors
If you're a junior doctor currently trying to decide how to spend your F3 year, then this video is for you. Join us and our host, Dr Evey Clay, as we talk you through the most popular options for an F3 year, in terms of what to expect, as well as the pros and cons of each.
The options include locuming, trust grades, clinical fellowships, and spending your F3 year abroad. We also offer a few helpful tips for how to get the ball rolling!
0:00 - Intro and Stats
1:11 - Locuming
3:11 - About Messly
4:10 - Trust Frades and Clinical Fellowships
7:15 - Working Abroad
Hey everyone. I'm Evey Clay, an ST1 in Ophthalmology, and I've joined forces with Messly to bring you some great content on everything you need to know about taking time out of training, doing an F3 year, and locuming in general. So let's go.
Taking an F3 year has become increasingly popular over the past decade. In 2017, 65% of all F2 doctors decided not to go into training, compared to just 17% in 2011. In this video, I'm going to be walking through the most common F3 options for doctors looking to take time out of training. I'm going to talk about what they are, how they work, their pros and cons, to help you decide what the best option is for you. However, if you're still undecided on what to do for your F3 after watching this video, then check out Messly's blog article, To F3 or not to F3, which I'll link in the description below. Here you'll also find a link to a number of articles that will give you more information on the points raised in this video.
Your F3 Options
So what are your F3 options? So the three most common options that 90% of doctors will fall into include these three. So first of all is locuming. Secondly, fellowships and trust grade posts. And thirdly, working abroad. There are also some other non-conventional options such as adventure medicine, medical education, and working in a HealthTech start-up, which we won't have time to cover in today's video. But if you do want to know more about these options, then comment below.
First up, and the most popular option, locuming. So a locum doctor is someone who temporarily works unfilled shifts on a clinic or hospital rota, either due to long-term staff absences or short-term sickness. They will usually work these shifts either through a locum agency or a Trust bank. And you can find out more about this in Messly's F3 Resource Hub.
Moving on to the pros of locuming. The first and main one to mention is its pay, because the pay is great. A new SHO locum doctor will earn between 35 to 45 pounds an hour. And just to put that into perspective, as an F2, you're earning about 35,000 pounds per year as a base pay. And when you're working as an F3 locum doctor, you can earn that in just under two days a week, which is insane.
The second pro to mention is its flexibility, because it is so flexible to be a locum. You can choose where you want to work and when you want to work. I know loads of doctors who took a year out of training, spent six months locuming, and then the rest of the time traveling. Or some people as well, just choose to work the entire year and earn loads of money to save for maybe a house deposit.
The third and final pro of locuming is the clinical experience side of it. So you get to experience loads of different specialties, and perhaps even a new trust that you've never worked in before. You can maybe see it as dating before committing to someone and marrying them, because you really don't want to be stuck with someone that you absolutely can't stand or hate for the next seven years of your life.
Moving on to the cons of locuming. There's definitely greater risk associated with it, because locum shifts can be really hard to come by, especially when you're in a region with loads of doctors choosing to locum at that particular point in time. These shifts can also be changed or cancelled at the very last minute. So you must be really proactive and take accountability for finding your own work, which can be really time consuming.
Con number two then, is fewer training opportunities. Because you're a locum, you probably won't be scheduled into clinics or teaching opportunities. So if you really want to build up your portfolio in your year out, then you really need to actively seek out these opportunities. A pro tip is that if you frequently work at the same hospital, or if you're friendly with your seniors, then you should definitely ask them for teaching opportunities as frequently as you can.
Messly's Locum Service
Oh, yeah. By the way, if you are considering locuming during your break in training, then you should definitely check out Messly's locum-finding service. Messly was actually founded by doctors who knew how frustrating it can be to look for locum work as a doctor. Messly makes finding locum work through the best agency simpler and much more transparent. And it puts you in control of finding the best locum work available. They have a really cool app. And on that app, you can create a profile where you can specify what kinds of locum work you want. The best part about it is that you'll receive a selection of locum work from the best locum agencies without even putting any of your contact details in there. By giving you more choice and putting the power in your hands, you'll get better rates, less travel, and your pick of departments. Not only that, but you'll also be able to see reviews written by doctors of these locum agencies, which is awesome, because you know that you'll only be working with the best.
Oh, yeah. And by the way, this service has been trusted by 6,000 locum doctors this year, and has amazing reviews on Trust Pilot. So if you'd like to find out more, check out the link in the description below.
Trust-Grade and Clinical Fellowships
All right, moving on. So the second option that you can choose in your F3 year is a trust grade or a fellowship post. So these are non-training fixed term roles in the NHS, which are normally about six months to a year long. Even though fellowship and trust grade roles are completely separate entities, we've grouped them together in this video, because they're pretty similar in terms of their pros and cons, apart from the fact that fellowships will probably give you more learning and training opportunities compared to a trust grade job. These roles are really similar to training grade jobs in the sense that you'll probably be required to cover the same number of on calls and nights as someone who's in a training role. You can find both these types of roles advertised on NHS jobs as early as December, but they can be put up as well sporadically throughout the year. So keep checking the website, but most will be published in June and they run up to August.
In terms of what to expect, you've got clinical fellowships, research fellowships, teaching fellowships, and then lastly, the trust grade jobs. For clinical fellowships, you'll probably be expected to do quite similar things to someone who's working in a training job. So for example, you'd be doing a mixture of ward work, clinic work, on call work, depending on the specialty that you'll be working in. For research fellowships, these tend to be really heavily involved in research, as the name suggests. These can sometimes contribute towards a qualification in research, such as a Masters or a PhD, depending on the role advertised.
For teaching fellowships, these may be teaching only or a mix of the clinical role as well. You'll normally be expected to provide small group teaching to medical students, such as in the form of seminars or [inaudible 00:05:31] teaching. You're also usually funded for a post-graduate set in medical education, or may receive funding contributions towards a Masters in medical education. For trust grade roles, this is essentially doing an F2 all over, but even though you'd be getting better pay, expect fewer training opportunities than in a training role.
All right then, so what are pros for fellowship and trust grade jobs? The first pro then, is the educational and portfolio opportunities. Because it is a much more structured program when you're in a fellowship job or a trust grade job, you'll get loads more training opportunities, and so more chances to beef up your portfolio in that year. You'll also be supplied an educational and a clinical supervisor. So just remember to document all your educational opportunities and your achievements in your portfolio as you go along.
The second pro is getting experience in a particular specialty. So as a fellow, you'll get loads of opportunities to attend conferences and courses, and you'll probably get a study budget as well to contribute to your learning. And even though you may get slightly fewer opportunities as a trust grade role, you can probably negotiate this with your trust and include that in your contract.
The third pro for these jobs is its certainty and lifestyle. In both these jobs, because you're on a fixed contract, you know what rota you're on, and basically what days you'll be working for the near future, which you may not get when you're locuming. You'll also get certain work benefits such as sick pay and annual leave, which may not necessarily be available for locums.
Moving on to the cons. So one of the cons is definitely pay. Even though you'd be getting paid more than a training role, you'll still be getting paid way less than a locum. So this is really something to look into if pay is one of your main priorities. You'll also need to check your contract really carefully, because sometimes you will be put on an old contract, which will come with less pay, and sometimes different rules as well on rest days. So check that carefully before you sign anything. Last con then, is the on calls. Definitely check on your contract what you're going to be expected to do before signing onto it.
Moving on then to the third option, which is working abroad, and in my opinion, the most exciting option out there. In terms of what to expect, this is such a great option for people who are looking for an adventure, or just want to see what it's like working in a foreign country. However, you will need to plan way in advance, because you'll probably need a work visa. And in order to secure that, you're going to need to have secured a job on the other side first. English speaking countries tend to be the most popular options, so countries like Australia and New Zealand. And they're also popular because you won't need any additional degrees in order to work there. If you're considering volunteering or working for NGOs, such as MSF or Blue Ventures, then there are loads of opportunities out there.
So what are the pros of working abroad? Of course, there are so many, but I think the main one is that you get to experience a new country and a new culture. You'll be able to try out living in a new country. It also gives you the option to travel on your days off, as well as during your annual leave. Another pro is its pay. So these roles can often be associated with higher pay compared to an equivalent role in the UK.
However, obviously it doesn't come without its cons. So one of the main cons of working abroad is that it needs loads and loads of planning. Organization is key here. And there's so many things to think about, such as your medical registration, your visas, your insurance. And if you don't start thinking about these things early on, then it gets really, really difficult for you.
Another con is its cost. So even though you'll be earning more working abroad, it can also cost quite a lot more as well, especially when you're paying for things like your visa, medical registration, and any professional exams that you might need to take. So for example, in Australia, it might cost an upward of 2,000 pounds, even though you don't have to take any professional exams.
The third con, and definitely something to consider, is your support network. Because obviously, it's such a huge change, and you'll need to make loads of adjustments, especially if you're moving to a country where you don't know a single person. So make sure you're up for it before you move. And I'll link in a description below an article, which will discuss these pros and cons in more detail.
And that's it for me today, you guys. Thank you for watching. We talked about the most common F3 options. And if you're taking an F3 year out, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. If you loved this video, give it a like, a thumb up. It really means a lot. And hit subscribe. We'll see you next time.