Answered by Dr. Hafsah, an F2 doctor.

The number of nights tends to vary depending on the job you are doing. For example, when I did Medicine as an FY1, I didn’t do any night shifts. When I did O&G, I typically did night shifts around once a month. On average, most of us would do 3 or 4 in a row and we are required to have minimum 48 hours’ rest post nights as per our contract. At the moment, as a surgical SHO on a Covid rota, I work mainly nights roughly twice a month around 4 shifts at a time.

Post foundation training, I am doing an “F3” and working as a locum SHO/O&G fellow meaning I have a lot more control over my shift pattern. I would really recommend this to most junior doctors to get a break post foundation and prepare well for the next step.

I think the question is mainly relating to achieving a good work/life balance and again, this is very specialty dependent; for example, GP training is one of the more flexible specialties whereas if you opt for hospital medicine, you will need to do some degree of out of hours’ work. A lot of surgical specialties are notorious difficult for this. For example, O&G is changing and eventually consultants will be expected to be resident at night. I think having a better work/life balance is more possible now that all of us can go LTFT (less than full time), however, choosing to do so may mean you take longer to complete your training.


You can find out more about Dr Hafsah on her Instagram:

Posted by:Life of a Medic

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