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How to make the most out of your Clinical Attachment

Clinical attachments are a great way for IMG doctors to familiarise themselves with how the NHS works. It is therefore vital you plan your attachments to ensure you can use this opportunity to boost your chances of success when applying for jobs. The key things I will be covering in this blog are:

a) What to do after you have secured your clinical attachment
b) Finding opportunities during your placement
c) Ensuring you leave a good impression at the end of your clinical attachment

If you want to read more about what a clinical attachment is and how to get one, click here.

If you want to read about how to get your first job in the NHS, click here.

Other blogs that may be helpful

– The CREST Form – everything you need to know
– How to Get Into UK GP Training (UK-trained or IMG doctor)
– How to Create a Powerful CV
– The PLAB 1 Exam: What to Expect and How to Prepare
– The PLAB 2 Exam: What it is and How to Prepare
The MSRA Assessment: What it is and How to Pass

What to do after you have secured your clinical attachment

Once you have received confirmation of your placement, it is important to get in touch with your supervisor. Consider sending them a ‘hello’ email to introduce yourself, explaining what you hope to gain from your clinical attachment. This may include: 

– gaining more experience in your interested specialty
– understanding how the NHS works
– being involved in a Quality Improvement Activity

Introducing yourself gives a great first impression as someone who is enthusiastic about the placement – and os someone who has thought about what they would like to achieve during the attachment. A simple email can also help ‘break the ice’ before the first meeting as your supervisor will have already gained an understanding of what your aims are.

Finding opportunities during your Clinical Attachment

Having a clinical attachment is only as useful as you make it. It is important to stay alert and interested during your placement to make the most of the opportunity. Clinical attachments are a great way to network with other medical professionals and colleagues – use this opportunity to learn from their experiences and make them aware of what you hope to gain from your attachment.

During these conversations you may be given the chance to get involved in a variety of clinical quality improvement activities, become an author of a paper or even get a chance to spend some time shadowing more than one consultant if the trust allows. Your enthusiasm during the placement will be noted by the people around you and you never know if it may also open up opportunities such as becoming aware of non-training post jobs or gaining chances to enhance your clinical skills.

Whatever you do during your clinical attachment – be it an examination, history taking or even a chance to do a clinical procedure (if allowed) – make sure you get it signed off and keep a log of everything you do. This will all come in use when you fill out your job application and will enhance your chance of securing a job in the NHS.

Ensuring you leave a good impression at the end of your Attachment

The NHS and medical community is a small world and you never know who you might bump into again later on in your career.

Whilst being enthusiastic about your placement, ensure that you are polite and kind to all members of the team around you. Offer to make the tea/coffee or bring in a box of chocolates with a thank you card at the end (or even beginning) of your placement. These small gestures may seem insignificant but they often demonstrate your willingness to try and fit in and be a team-player. As well as this, of course it also shows your appreciation. Whilst none of these actions are compulsory, they are things I have done throughout my own medical training, and have ultimately helped me on numerous occasions.

It is important to realise that everyone is working in a stressful environment – any friendly gesture is received well – and ultimately when we leave a placement on a good note, there are higher chances of being invited back or even being offered a job. If however, you feel uncomfortable doing any of these things (for any reason), please bear in mind the value of simply being kind and courteous to your colleagues – as this in itself is also a great gesture that never goes un-noticed.

I hope you enjoy your clinical attachment immensely and I wish you every success in your journey. 

About us

Dr Aman Arora is a GP who is now 100% committed to transforming medical education, helping doctors across the globe to ace their exams and enhance their careers. He is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners). Previous roles include:

  • GP Training Programme Director
  • NHS GP Appraiser
  • GMC PLAB 2 Examiner
  • GP Recruitment Examiner
  • GP Recruitment Question-writer
  • HEWM IMG Board Member
  • HEWM Advanced MRCGP AKT Trainer

Dr Pooja Arora is a portfolio GP based in Birmingham. She has held local and national roles in her Medico-Political background fighting for GP trainee and GP rights. Her roles have included:

  • Vice Chair Birmingham LMC
  • BMA Council Member
  • BMA General Practitioners Committee elected representative 
  • BMA Sessional GP Committee elected representative 
  • BMA National Deputy Policy lead for working at scale
  • HEE GP Ambassador
  • HEE GP Stage 3 Assessor
  • RCGP Midland Faculty AiT representative

* Blogs written by Dr Aman and Dr Pooja Arora are not for professional, financial or medical advice. Please seek appropriate professional, legal or financial advice where appropriate *

 

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