Welcome to the profession - a message for new graduates from Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen

Congratulations on graduating from medical school and joining the medical register.

You’re about to begin your first post as an F1 trainee. Your life as a doctor starts here and, as Chair of the General Medical Council, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the profession.

In my view, medicine is the best career in the world. To be able to work with like-minded colleagues and treat and care for our fellow humans really is a privilege like no other. Doctors are trusted and valued – something that is hard earned and we should all be proud of.

This is a turning point in your life, so naturally you might have all sorts of different feelings about that. I’m sure you’ll be feeling excited, after years of preparation, and eager to get started. But you may also be feeling uncertain, apprehensive, or anxious – and that’s completely understandable. I certainly remember the sense of trepidation I felt when I started working as a doctor – and, frankly, it went on long after that first day! You’ll be in a new environment with new colleagues and new challenges – and you’ll also be entering a new phase of learning, which should be both interesting and supportive.

As your professional regulator, we’re here to support you throughout your training and future career. Sometimes, medical students have told us that they have the impression that the GMC is something to fear – but our goals of safe, high quality patient care are ones that we all share. Since you started medical school and now, as you continue your training, the best way for us to help you to achieve those goals is to empower you to succeed. We recognise and understand the environments you’ll be working in, and we want to help you as you start to treat patients for the first time.

"As your professional regulator, we’re here to support you throughout your training and future career."

Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen

Chair, General Medical Council

There will be times when you will be unsure about what to do, or worried about a decision you’ve made, or simply be feeling emotionally overwhelmed. The best advice I can give you, both as Chair of the GMC and as a practising clinician, is to ask for help if you need it. You’ll have clinical supervisors and senior colleagues that you can speak to, and you can find lots of information about the support that we, and other independent organisations, offer on our website.

Here you'll also find ethical guidance and learning materials to help you, including advice on navigating the key issues you might encounter. And we've just published a blog with tips from current foundation doctors. I wish that resources like these had been available when I was starting out.

Remember, we’re all human: nobody expects you to be invincible! Please don’t be afraid to admit if you’re struggling – and don’t be afraid to be ready to offer help to your colleagues either.

So, look after yourselves and each other, and enjoy this moment! Finishing medical school is the culmination of years of hard work and study, and you should be incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved. Make sure you celebrate that success, and I wish you all the best for the future.

With my warmest regards

Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen
Chair of the General Medical Council