New guidance to help you

We've produced new guidance to help you prepare for becoming a doctor in the future.

As the UK regulator of doctors, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the public can expect from every doctor registered with us.

In essence, what are the absolute musts for every doctor? What can you expect from your doctor, regardless of whether they are in a GP practice or a hospital, what they specialise in, or how or long they have been practising?

We decided these musts fall under four areas.

  • Every doctor must have a certain level of knowledge, skills, and performance.
  • Every doctor must prioritise patient safety and quality.
  • Doctors work in partnership with colleagues and patients every day – so every doctor must demonstrate communication, partnership and teamwork.
  • Every doctor must act in a way that maintains the trust in them as an individual and in the profession as a whole.
Sort out your sleep routine/habits as a student and stick to them as much as possible as a doctor!

What does that mean for me?

When you graduate from medical school and register with us, we'll expect you to follow our standards in your day-to-day practice. Your medical school will help you build the skills to meet our standards throughout your degree. But these skills are complex, and doctors spend their entire careers honing them further. So we've translated our standards for doctors to show how they apply to you as a medical student.

Achieving good medical practice gives you practical advice about how to behave professionally and demonstrate the values expected of you as a medical student and a doctor. It deals with questions like how to be professional in clinical placements, dos and don'ts for social media, how to handle unconscious bias and how to behave outside medical school.

Each year, about 1 out of 100 medical students goes through professionalism or student fitness to practise procedures via their medical school because they do not meet those high standards of behaviour. This is a supportive process that most of the time results to the medical school putting support measures in place or issuing the student with a warning. Although we are talking about a small proportion of students, the majority of these cases are related to unprofessional behaviour ('misconduct') - so we hope our guidance on professional behaviour can help.

Use the first year of medical school as an opportunity to experiment with different learning styles, adapt to university life, surround yourself with the right people and essentially find a routine that best suits you – these are vital pillars that will help build a solid foundation for the rest of your degree.
Sara Beqiri
First year medical student at University College London

What do other students say about Achieving good medical practice?

‘This guidance should be on the recommended reading list for all medical students.’

‘By following the guidance from the moment we start medical school, up until the time we graduate to become doctors, gives enough time to practice and follow all we can to help us look after our self, our multidisciplinary team and our patients.’

‘The way the guidance is worded helped emphasise that professionalism is not just about avoiding doing wrong - it is about actively trying to improve your skills and knowledge to provide the best possible patient care.’

Don’t let anyone grind you down. Don’t believe you can’t... Because you can!

Where can I read the guidance?

Read Achieving good medical practice. On this page you’ll also find:

  • a video by teachers from medical schools explaining why they think the guidance and professionalism are important
  • our myth busters and questions about professionalism
  • winning competition entries from other students about Achieving good medical practice from last year.