Welcome to the profession – a message to final year medical students from Dame Clare Marx
Congratulations, you've nearly graduated and are about to become a doctor. Welcome to the profession. I know how much it takes to reach this point and still recall both the anticipation and anxiety of starting my first job as a clinician.
You will have watched with pride and awe as the health service has prepared over the last few weeks for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The face of medical practice has been transformed in just that short time – GPs routinely delivering video consultations, entire hospitals reconfigured or built in a matter of weeks, experienced clinicians repurposed and working outside their comfort zone and doctors returning to frontline work from career breaks or retirement.
You are joining the medical profession at a moment of challenge, change and opportunity and I’m sure your excitement is tempered by some degree of trepidation.
This is going to be a difficult time for the whole country but particularly for those in health care.
You will inevitably have fears and anxieties. This pandemic represents a formidable challenge to the most seasoned of clinicians, who are being asked to change the established order of our patient care.
You are starting as new doctors, at a time when compassionate care, collaborative working, evidence-based delivery, open communication and everyday leadership have never been more important. Sticking to these basic principles will guide you as you care for your patients.
You will remember this time. It may be the most formative experience of your career. Be proud of your achievements to date, be brave as you join our profession.
We all came into medicine to make a difference, to care, to use our skills and knowledge to deliver for patients. To do all this we also need to be take care of ourselves and those with whom we work. Be kind to yourselves, and each other.
"We all came into medicine to make a difference, to care, to use our skills and knowledge to deliver for patients. To do all this we also need to be take care of ourselves and those with whom we work. Be kind to yourselves, and each other."
Dame Clare Marx
Next week you’ll receive an email and text message from us inviting you to apply for provisional registration. This year, we’re accelerating the processing of applications, so you can take up an interim F1 post early, should you wish to. Deciding not to will not adversely impact your future progression or training.
You will know from recent reports that the health service is aiming for a very flexible workforce response depending on how the pandemic develops. It is not yet clear when you will be asked to start work and what that work will be. Be patient and use the time to build your own resilience by investing in your networks and those close to you.
During my 40-year career, I have seen the skill, selflessness and resilience that runs through our health service. Ours is a wonderful profession and serving patients is a true privilege. Being a doctor brings joys and sadness and you will experience both in the months ahead. Remember you are not on your own. You are a valued part of the NHS and welcome member of the medical profession.
This pandemic will end. And by the time it does, you will have built the foundations of relationships, skills and resilience to last a lifetime.
Keep safe and enjoy your career.