Survive and thrive as a Junior Doctor

Wavelength’s advice for getting the most out of your Junior Doctor years

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Julia Buckley

Learning & Development Manager

December 15, 2022

We understand how stressful it can be to take the next steps in your career, especially when starting off as a junior doctor. It takes time to adjust and adapt, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

We have put together some advice on how to survive and thrive, to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.


  • Know your patients

Knowing the ins and outs of each specialty will not be expected from you at this time. However, knowing the patients on the ward, including their clinical condition, current treatment, investigations, social history etc, is a definitely important, and shows your interest in the role.

  • Stay organised

Get a notebook to keep track of important information that is thrown at you. This can also be used to stay on top of all the information relating to your patients.

Good documentation is essential. Learn to document properly, and if documenting more complex discussions (breaking bad news, complaints) ask a senior how these are usually documented.

Keep a document/paper full of key resources that could come in handy, for example prescription forms, protocols, list of contacts if help is needed etc.[i]

  • Keep on top of your portfolio

Put some time aside every week to work on your e-portfolio. This goes hand-in-hand with staying organised.

  • Understand what is required & ask questions

When being asked by seniors to complete a task or job, always be sure you understand exactly what they expect from you and that you know how to do it.

If in doubt – ask. Everyone was new once; you don’t want to be wasting time by doing it incorrectly. Nurses are a great source of clinical information, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them if needed.[ii]

  • Be curious

Learning doesn’t stop at the end of medical school! Take every opportunity to ask questions and learn as much as possible in each rotation, show your interest, and don’t exclude any specialty, regardless of your personal interests.

  • Admit to your mistakes

Making mistakes is a part of learning, and making them will help you grow and learn. However, always admit to your mistakes and never try to cover anything up.

  • Be reliable

If you have been asked to do something, do it. No one expects you to know everything, so ask around if you have any doubts or questions.

Ajay Sudan (Geriatrics Specialist Registrar) says: “Do it yourself. Never presume a job has been done. It was only done if you did it.”[iii]

  • Enjoy it & be kind

Smile. Befriend your colleagues and nurses. You are at the start of your career, and this is a great time to network and connect too. Medicine is an exciting and rewarding career; you’ve worked hard to get here, so enjoy everything the job has to offer.[iv]


Follow this advice, and you’ll become confident in your role in no time!


Wavelength has a dedicated team of recruiters for Junior Doctors and Junior Locum Doctors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the team for further information or for a confidential chat.

Interested in a new role? Browse our jobs to start your new dream career now!


[i] Medic Footprints, The FY1 Doctor Survival Guide: Top Tips for New Junior Doctors,

[ii] The BMJ, Tips on how to prepare as a junior doctor, 2015,

[iii] Zero To Finals, 30 doctors give advice to new FY1s.

[iv] On The Wards, Pearls of wisdom for newly minted junior doctors, 2019,

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