What to Expect From a Hospital Induction
Starting somewhere new can be stressful for junior doctors and locum doctors alike. Moving to a new part of the country, or working in an unfamiliar Trust or specialty can be daunting and can often put people off accepting work they’d otherwise enjoy and benefit from.
One way to mitigate these fears is to attend an induction of some kind. Being welcomed and eased into a new role and environment alleviate concerns and answer the many questions that come with starting somewhere new.
In this article we will explain:
✅ The different types of inductions and what to expect from each type,
✅ Questions you should consider asking at an induction,
✅ Who should expect to be given an induction,
✅ What to do if you are not offered an induction.
1. What are the different types of induction?
The BMA mandates that all new starters should receive a Trust induction before starting their new roles in earnest. Inductions ensure that new employees understand local practices, policies, and systems that will allow them to do their jobs in a safe and effective way.
Inductions can take several days to complete, and can be a mix of virtual and in-person training, and self-directed learning. If you are on a contract, the induction should take place during your contracted dates and working hours. This includes virtual induction, on-site inductions, or self-directed training via online modules.
Because Trust inductions are a requirement for new starters, they tend to be protocolised and often involve many tick-box exercises around mandatory and statutory training, ID checks and paperwork, IT and data security, and providing information about key Trust policies (i.e. safeguarding, whistleblowing, and raising-concerns).
Though sometimes tedious, Trust inductions can be a brilliant opportunity to get quick answers to queries around parking, pay, and IT concerns (to name a few).
Will I get paid for attending a Trust induction?
For contracted employees, inductions are considered ‘work’ so you are paid for attending an induction. If you do not receive pay, then you should be offered time off in lieu at an appropriate rate.
For PAYE employees or locum doctors, inductions are not paid because there is no contractual obligation for locums to book shifts after registering with the bank. Locum staff can provide evidence of previously completed (but still in date) training to avoid having to needlessly repeating training when they are not paid to do so.
Things to expect from a Trust Induction may include:
👉 Welcome from key figures in the Trust.
👉 Information about the Trust’s history, services, culture and values.
👉 Explanation of issues experienced by the Trust, including equality and diversity issues.
👉 Talks about key policies, including safeguarding, whistleblowing, and raising-concerns.
👉 Site map and parking rules, emergency procedures and fire-safety regulations.
👉 Receive logins and passwords for essential digital programs.
👉 Training to familiarise yourself with those platforms.
👉 Receive work laptops and phones (if required for your role)
Set up Smartcards and ID badges.
👉 Explanation of Electronic Staff Record and payment procedures.
👉 Verify original copies of key documents (proof of ID, proof of address).
👉 Introduction to staff bank and locum opportunities at the trust.
👉 Explanation of study leave and training opportunities.
👉 Explanation of the NHS pension scheme.
Clinical Teams induction:
👉 Introduction to key clinical teams at the Trust (i.e. Palliative care, Library and Research teams)
Though not mandatory, you may also be offered a departmental induction which typically involves:
👉 Tour of the unit and information about emergency exits and procedures (i.e. fire exits, or door policies on secure wards or areas with vulnerable patients).
👉 Introduction to key figures in the unit and the team you’ll be working with.
👉 Location of your office or workspace (if applicable).
👉 Identification of emergency equipment including grab bag and crash trolley, hypoglyaemia and anaphylaxis emergency kits, blood glucose and ketone meter, equipment room and drug room.
Will I get paid for attending a departmental induction?
The same rules apply for departmental inductions as they did for Trust inductions - contracted employees are paid for attending whereas non-contracted PAYE employees are not.
Though you may not be paid for it, it is in the best interests of locum staff to attend departmental inductions if they can. These can be a great opportunity to orientate yourself to your new work environment, check that your access cards and ID logins work, and ask some of your more pressing questions to future colleagues.
Often, this is were you can get answers to questions like;
👉 What should I wear?
👉 Where can I change?
👉 What time is handover/does the shift start?
👉 Where do we meet in the mornings?
👉 How do I access/print the patient list?
It can alleviate a lot of stress if you are confident that your first few hours on a new shift will run smoothly. Turning up to the right place at the right time in the right clothing can help you start a job confidently and positively.
2. Who gets an induction?
New trainees, trust grades, and fellows: You will be given a Trust and departmental induction.
As these groups generally start at specific times in the year, the inductions will usually be well planned, thorough, and tailored to your specific needs while also covering the general national requirements for a Trust induction.
Depending on how snazzy your new Trust is, you may get a customised induction pack with information about the doctors mess, codes to changing rooms, information about study leave and annual leave policies, and details about pay and other policies relevant to you.
Doctors joining the locum bank of a Trust they’ve not worked in before: You will likely be required to attend a Trust induction but you may not get a formal departmental induction.
To ensure that you have completed all the required paperwork and tick-box exercises for joining the Trust you may be invited to join a multi-discplinary induction with other new starters - whether they are clinical or non-clinical.
These inductions tend to be more generic than those for trainees, whose needs and questions are more focussed and more easily anticipated. The information provided at these inductions may not be specific or tailored to you and your needs, and you are more likely to have unanswered questions at the end of the day.
Agency doctors locuming at a new Trust: You’ll probably not be invited to a Trust induction or a departmental induction.
Instead, you may be emailed some key documents and information about the hospital before you are due to start, or (if you are lucky) a locum pack containing all your IT system log-in details, card access, and important numbers that you’ll need for your shift. If there is information missing that you want, ask your agent to speak to the HR/medical staffing department and gather answers for you before you start.
If you live locally, you can ask to attend a generic induction at the Trust however the expectation is that you will have completed all of your mandatory paperwork through your agency and that a Trust induction would be redundant in your case.
Doctors joining the locum bank of a Trust they’ve worked in before: You’ll most likely not get a hospital or departmental induction.
As you’re already employed the by the Trust, you’ll have already had a Trust induction and this probably won’t need repeating. And as a locum, you won’t be getting a departmental induction unless you seek it out yourself.
3. What to do if I don’t get an induction?
If you aren’t getting an induction but feel nervous about starting somewhere new, please don’t worry. If you haven’t been invited to attend an induction it is probably because you don’t NEED to complete any of the red-tape tasks involved in starting somewhere new.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get answers to any outstanding questions or concerns that you have.
Most of your questions could probably be answered by the Medical HR team. If you are worried about parking, uniforms, pay, pensions, contracts, leave, or your rights as a locum try medical HR first. If they cannot answer your questions directly then they should be able to refer you onto the person who will be able to help you. They may also have a new starter information pack with hospital maps and useful information on it, so getting in touch may be really helpful.
If you have questions about IT systems, logins, ID badges, or swipecard access then either contact IT or security services who should be able to check your access or point you in the right direction. You may need to login from a Trust computer to check all your new logins work, and they may be able to do this for you or tell you where you can do this yourself on your first day.
One of the most useful ways to get answers to your questions is to actually go to the department in which you will be working, and speak to the regular team there to check you have all the essential information that you need before starting. The clinical team on the ward who do the job every day will know what you need to wear, when you need to arrive, and what you need to bring with you to do the job. Generally, if you explain that you are starting new and want to make sure you have what you need, the teams are very generous with their time and welcoming you to the department. They will often offer an impromptu tour and let you test out your IT access on the computers on the unit.
You can read more about alleviating first-day anxiety as a locum here.
Or, read about what to expect from your first day as a clinical fellow.
Attending an induction can be boring and time consuming, but also can be a fabulous opportunity to get answers to nagging questions and alleviate worries around starting somewhere new and unfamiliar.
For non-subtantive roles, inductions tend to be paid whereas for locum staff they tend not to be, however you can clarify whether or not your attendance is paid by speaking to the medical staffing or medical HR departments at the Trust.
If you are not attending an induction, you can still request additional information in advance of your start date either from your agency, medical HR, IT services, or even the ward team. If you can, consider visiting your new ward in advance of your start and gathering any outstanding information from the ward team to provide any final reassurance needed.
The BMA provide some additional information and support around inductions, which you can view here.
If you want inspiration for questions you may want to ask in advance of starting somewhere new, keep reading.
❓ Where and when am I expected to show up on site for the first time?
Make sure that you have a site map saved to your phone, and have identified the right place to be in advance. If you can at least make it to handover then you can generally find someone to point you in the right direction for the rest of the day.
❓ Where can I park and how can I get a parking permit?
Ensure that you have identified how you are going to get to site for the first time, and if that involves driving then make sure you know where to park and how to get a parking permit (if required). Don’t accept directions like ‘around the back’ or colloquial terms like ‘at the Quarry’ as a response.
❓ Where can I get food on site?
If you are attending an in-person induction on site, asking this question in advance will help you prepare for what is likely to be a long and exhausting (and probably boring) day with the comfort of knowing you will at least be fed. Some hospitals are very remote and your only option may be bleak, bland cafeteria food and instant coffee (that costs a fortune). If this is the case, consider preparing lunch in advance and bringing something more appealing (and nutritious) with you.
❓ When do we get paid each month?
The date that employees are paid can vary between Trusts, so knowing when you are expected to get paid can be really useful. Generally, is the last Thursday or Friday of the month but your first month may be slightly different depending on your start date. Clarify whether your first and second months payslips will be combined.
❓ What is the dress code for my unit?
Post-pandemic, most Trusts have persisted with scrubs as the standard uniform for doctors, but many community sites have reverted back to ‘workplace professional wear’. If you don’t have your own set of scrubs, check where you can get some either in advance of your first day, or in the morning when you arrive. Ensure that they have your size and can get them to you in advance of your start time, particularly if it is early (i.e. 8am).
❓ Where do I collect my ID badge?
Knowing that you can physically access the department you will be working in is reassuring that you can at least get into work. Make sure that you have your ID badge with swipecard access (if required) to get to your job. If you are being mailed an ID badge, make sure you have it well in advance of your start date. If you haven’t received an ID badge for your new Trust, you can wear one from your locum agency or use your NHS smartcard ID instead though these won’t give you swipecard access.
❓ How can I confirm that my IT logins work, and who should I call if they don’t?
You’ll probably need to log into your IT accounts from a Trust computer to check that your access works. Usually the first time you login, it takes some time for the system to open so be prepared for a bit of a wait. If there are issues, it helps to know the phone number for IT services and to have them on standby so that you can get things sorted there and then. Make sure you call within their working hours so don’t leave this until the last minute - particularly if you are starting with anti-social shifts.
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