Which specialty has the happiest Foundation Trainees?
In this article, we’ll break down the data from Messly’s Training Navigator to answer the question: Which specialty has the happiest Foundation Trainees?
Below you'll find a chart breaking down each specialty with a score out of 100. This represents an Averaged Satisfaction Rating based on the GMC's National Training Survey. The higher the score, the more satisfied the Foundation Trainees were with their rotation in a given specialty. See the Methodology below for more details.
What is the Training Navigator?
Rank your Foundation Programme rotations with confidence with Messly’s Training Navigator. See how rotations are rated by last year’s foundation trainees to make smarter decisions about where you’ll spend your Foundation Training.
You can use it to answer questions like:
👉 Which are the best-rated and worst-rated rotations in my Foundation School?
👉 How do the rotations compare for Workload, Learning and Satisfaction?
👉 Which is the best hospital for my favourite specialties?
👉 Within a hospital, which rotations are best-rated?
We’ve broken down the average Satisfaction Scores for each specialty in the Training Navigator to see which rotations have the best and worst ratings.
😃 Which specialties make the happiest Foundation Doctors?
General Practice, Anaesthetics and ENT had the highest average Satisfaction Scores, these were: 77, 77 and 76 respectively.
The national average Satisfaction Score across the was 59 in 2021, making these over 10% higher than the average.
On average the happiest specialties tend to have FY1's on a 'supernumerary' basis, meaning that these trainees will join an already staffed department as 'additional' doctors. What this usually means in real terms is that you'll have: more 9-5's and senior support, and less on-calls compared to most other specialties, so we expect that this is why the Satisfaction Scores are higher.
At F2 levels, whilst doctors are unlikely to be supernumerary, these specialties tend have lower workloads and less frequencies of on-calls. It's also worth noting that GP tends to be an F2 only rotation that is a 9-5 job and features almost 0 on-calls, except the rare acute medicine shift to keep you clinically skilled up.
In summary, it seems specialties that feature less on-calls, less unsocial hours, and lower workloads, tend to make happier Foundation Trainees.
😡 Which specialties make the least happiest Foundation Doctors?
The 3 least happy specialties for Foundation Trainees were all surgical. These were: Trauma & Orthopaedics, Vascular Surgery, and General Surgery with scores of 41, 44 and 46 respectively.
A possibility for this is that surgery at FY1 level tends to be almost exclusively a medical ward cover role for surgical patients. You also won’t get to attend theatres much, or at all at busier hospitals.
At F2 level, you'll also be the SHO on-call for your department. For surgical specialties, this will involve covering wards, new admissions (elective and acute) as well as covering A&E referrals, which can be unrelenting. There’s also the struggle of getting senior support and you’ll often find yourself having to hunt down your SpR in theatres if you need help on the wards or for advice on a referral. Whilst this might not sound that appealing from a workload perspective, the plus side is that you'll find yourself quickly learning a lot about surgical investigations and management through these on-calls.
Be aware that rotations in surgical specialties as a Foundation Doctor are not true reflections of the specialty itself, as you'll find yourself essentially being an extension of the medical team, except with far less support. If you're interested in Surgery and building up a portfolio in it, come in on your days off or book time off as a taster day or week to attend theatres and shadow the Consultant.
It’s also worth noting that Vascular Surgery was also scored as the specialty with the least manageable workload. You can find more about the workload of each specialty in our article here.
Data and Methodology
The above data is based on an analysis of Satisfaction Scores from the Training Navigator.
Satisfaction Scores are calculated based on the feedback provided by trainees when asked about “Overall Satisfaction” and “Supportive Environment” in the GMC's National Training Survey.
Only specialties that featured more than 12 rotations in the Training Navigator in 2021 were included in this analysis. Additionally, for a rotation to count and be included in our Training Navigator, they must have a minimum of 3 trainees who completed the GMC’s 2021 NTS.
The Training Navigator also provides a Learning Score (based on experience, clinical supervision, curriculum coverage and others) and a Workload Score (based on workload and teamwork) for each rotation, plus and Overall Score that combines all of the above. Check out our Training Navigator to see review these in detail.
To learn more about our Training Navigator’s methodology, check out this link.
Here are some links that you might find useful for your UKFP application and preferencing your Foundation Programmes and Rotations.
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