Dr. Pooja Devani

Dr. Devani is currently a Foundation Doctor with a vision to help and guide students to enter Medicine and Dentistry irrespective of their backgrounds. She has tutored for 7 years now and coached students with all parts of their application process.

Dr. Devani is also the Founder of Step2Med and the Lead Tutor for all our GCSE, A-Level and Undergraduate Courses. She designs and formulates all the courses that Step2Med deliver, in addition to overseeing the courses Step2Med run.

Q1. How is the work-life balance as an FY1/2?

It is an adjustment I think people make differently and at different rates. What I would say is it is entirely possible especially as the culture has improved massively to balance your social life, hobbies and work. In fact it’s quite nice to have time at home after work where you’re not revising contrary to university, so actually at times it’s better! I often call it life-work balance, because it constantly reminds me of which are my true priorities in life.

Q2. Is the income for an FY1/2 enough?

This depends massively on expenditure, but what I would say is it is definitely comfortable. Some people live out and therefore have expenses such as rent, but the salary is enough to cover this with disposable income too. Living at home with my parents is a HUGE benefit. 

Q3. Can you explain the biggest differences between placements as a final year medical student and being an FY1?

Yes! Responsibility is now present. As a medical student, nothing really depends on you and you have no responsibility that actually contributes to patient outcomes. As a doctor, I see acutely unwell patients independently and stabilise them, after which I let my senior know who will be very busy with other sick patients. So there’s huge responsibility during that time before your senior is involved where all the decisions are made by you. This is something that just doesn’t happen as a student. 

Q4. How do you find the social life with people from the hospital and outside?

Social life is great! I still managed to meet up with all my friends pretty regularly – what’s difficult is to actually be off at the same time, as your life is governed by rotas. However being quite organised with your friend circle will help this for sure. 

Q5. Please could you explain about the structure of the Foundation Years?

Yes. Foundation years are split into FY1 and FY2. These are usually made up of 3, 4-month rotations, each year. The mixture would be medicine and surgical placements, as well community-based ones such as GP or Psychiatry. There’s also the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) – this is what I’m doing, and you spend a certain proportion of your time, or a whole 4-month rotation doing either clinical research, leadership or medical education/teaching. 

Q6. What does an average day as an FY1/2 look like?

So it begins with ward round in the morning, followed by mopping up and carrying out the jobs generated from the morning such as taking bloods, putting cannulas/IV lines in ordering scans etc. Sometimes you have meetings at lunchtime or junior doctor teaching. In the afternoon you may have another ward round or catch up, and you chase the results from the morning and act on these by reviewing the management plan. You’d handover appropriately to the night team before you leave. 

Q7. How much responsibility do you have as an FY1/2?

This varies a lot in different trusts. Smaller hospitals, or district general hospitals have fewer doctors and less senior coverage and so the responsibility is massive and often juniors do feel more overwhelmed in those settings. Larger hospitals, especially teaching hospitals, have a lot of support. You are very much guided by your seniors, when you’re on call there’s more responsibility but eventually you’ll report back to your seniors and check in with them. 

Q8. Have you any idea of the speciality you would like to end up working in?

Yes! When I applied to Medicine I applied because I wanted to be a Paediatrician. Throughout university and now work, I kept an open mind and tried to experience as many specialties as I could but through it all it always came back to Paediatrics for me. The speciality fascinates me and I love working with children. I am applying for speciality training this year and starting to sit my exams from October this year. 

Q9. What advice would you give those starting out on their medical school journey?

This is something I say to every medical student I meet. Remember why you’re doing this amidst all the work the pre-clinical years have. That will ride you through and keep you going. Also speak to your friend and family to help keep perspective and have some downtime. 

Q10. What advice would you give 4-5th year medical students?

Again I would always say remember why you’re doing this. When you start work there are lots of protocols, pathways and paperwork, as well as challenges from the job and working in a team – ultimately never lose sight of the main person in your team – the patient, this should help remain your humility, empathy and care throughout your practice. 

I would like to thank Dr. Pooja Devani immensely for taking the time to be interviewed – this short blog will have a lasting impact on so many budding medical students/doctors!!

Published by Dreams Of A Medic

2nd Year Medical Student at the University of Manchester!

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