Successful Applications For Foundation Training 2007

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					Successful Applications For
Foundation Training

Alex Langhorn – Careers Consultant
Jane Whitmore – Careers Consultant
Dr. Maire Shelly – Associate Postgraduate Dean

September 2008
•   Introduction
•   Know the process
•   What to do before you start your application form
•   Application form in detail
•   Checklist and Golden rules
•   Further sources of help available
•   Scoring Exercise
•   Q & A panel
Foundation Application Process
• Foundation Programme
  – 2 year training programme
• National process
  – National timeline
  – UK-wide single online application system –UK
    Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO)
  – Fair and open competitive process
  – National scoring guidance & national person
  – Applications scored by panel from your first choice
    Foundation School – max score 100 points
  – 40 points available for academic performance, 60
    points available for application form
What we do know:
• Broad areas questions will focus on
  – (Note: questions are likely to be very similar to
    last year)
• Types of things scorers are looking for

What we don’t know:
  – Marking criteria/mark scheme
Step 1 Confirm eligibility                            4 August – 5 September
Step 2 View & download application form &             13 October 2008
       guidance documents from UKFPO
Step 3 Enrol online with UKFPO                        13 October 2008 – 7
                                                      November 2008
Step 4 Complete and submit applications               27 Oct – 7 Nov 2008
Step 5 Closing date for applications                  7 November 2008
Step 6 Foundation school allocation                   7 November – 6 January
Step 7 Notification of foundation school allocation   6 January 2008
Step 8 Programme matching by foundation school January – February 2009
Step 9 Results of local matching                      3 March 2009
How does it all work?
     Application form divided into 8 sections
     –   Personal
                  Name and address
     –   Qualifications
     –   Clinical skills
                  self assessment of your own practical and clinical skills
     –   Other (equality & diversity)
                  will be used by employers to build a demographic profile of their workforce
     –   Key questions (this is the only part the panel will see)
                  7 questions which will be scored
     –   References
                  Your references (x2) must be clinicians
     –   Preferences
                  You must rank 26 foundation schools
     –   Submit
                  Confirm application is completed and all information is correct and your own work

•   You will be able to save your application at any time and come back to it at a later date
    during the application timeframe
Understand the background
• “Foundation programmes are designed to give basic
  competence in professional skills like communication,
  teamwork and the use of evidence and data. You will be
  expected to demonstrate increasingly sophisticated skills
  in these areas throughout the foundation programme.”

• “You will be responsible for your own learning.”

• “You should consider every activity a chance to learn
  something new.”

   Rough Guide to the Foundation Programme, Ch 1.
Likely questions?
2009 Person Specification:

• Understanding of patient      • Initiative and ability to
  as central focus of care        deal with
• Ability to prioritise tasks     pressure/challenge
  and information               • Understanding of
• Working effectively with        principles of equality and
  others                          diversity
• Ability to communicate        • Appropriate professional
  effectively with both           behaviour, i.e. integrity,
  patients & colleagues           honesty, confidentiality as
                                  set out in Good Medical
                                  Practice 2006
Foundation Application 2008
Person Specification:                   Questions
• Patient as central focus of care      • Compare/contrast care
• Ability to prioritise tasks and         pathways of 2 different
  information                             patients with similar clinical
• Working effectively with others         problems
• Communicate effectively with          • Ability to prioritise tasks and
  colleagues and patients                 information
• Initiative and ability to deal with   • Importance of team working
  pressure/challenged                   • Time when you had to deal
• Demonstrates appropriate                with pressure/were challenged
  professional behaviour                • Demonstration of appropriate
                                          professional behaviour
                                        • Non academic achievement
                                        • Educational achievements
Before you complete the form
• Start thinking about your application now
• Think self-promotion…this is your chance to sell
• Identify referees and seek permission to use
• Read and understand the requirements of the
  National Person Specification (UKFPO web site,
• Identify any gaps in your skills and abilities –
  action plan!
• Be clear about what you have to offer
Before you complete the form
• Think of real examples from your experience …
  EVIDENCE of your ability
• Give a rounded view: select from education,
  work experience, interests
• Assess critical incidents and identify what you
  have learned, the skills you developed…
• Focus on achievements and results – develop a
  profile of your skills particularly relevant to
  Foundation Training
• Refer to portfolio/CV to select examples from
   Documents needed to Ace the
• The New Doctor 2007
• Good Medical Practice
• Medical students: professional behaviour
  and fitness to practise
• Person Specification
Application forms – the basics
•   Give yourself plenty of time
•   Read through the whole form before starting
•   Draft your answers in rough
•   Complete all the sections
•   Grammar and spelling...check!
•   Avoid unnecessary /excessive abbreviations
•   Tone - upbeat , positive and focused
•   Short, sharp sentences – no long prose passages
•   Complete and comprehensible sentences
•   Must be your own work
•   keep a copy of your form!
Application forms – evidence
based/blank box questions
• Don’t assume scorers will know the significance – begin
  by setting the context/scene – analyse the event
• Quantify and be specific
• Describe your behaviour, not us, we and the team, what
  did you contribute?
• How and why? – personal insight and reflection
• Focus on results – what difference did you make? What
  was the outcome?
• What did you achieve/learn/insights gained?
• Structure your answers…think CAR:
  Context – Action – Result
Application forms – evidence
based/blank box questions
• Choose examples which:
  – Are recent
  – Are relevant
  – Showcase your best performance
  – Go beyond what would be expected of you
  – Demonstrate skills relevant to foundation
Describe an example from your own experience that has increased
your understanding of the importance of team working. What was your
role and contribution to the team? What have you learned from this
experience that will be relevant to foundation training?

   When working as a toxicologist in my local hospital I worked as part
   of a busy laboratory team, analysing samples from patients and
   ensuring that clinical staff were made aware of the results of tests in
   a timely fashion. I was the leader in the lab for a particular testing
   regime, ensuring that certain analyses were conducted by the
   members of staff. I directed operations, often staying late in the
   laboratory to ensure that results would be ready the next morning for
   early clinics. I have learned that it is important to work closely with
   others but also to take responsibility for delivering results
   individually, this will be important in foundation training.
   (112 words)

Is this a good answer?
 Positive & Negative Indicators
• Attitudes and approaches evident from a
  candidates answer that we would be either
  hoping to see or not hoping to see

• Positive indicators largely derived from
  professional standards documents

• Positive indicators = the attitudes and
  approaches of a good doctor
          Teamwork Example:
           +ve/-ve Indicators
+ Appropriate example     - Neglects others’
+ Detailed explanation      views
+ Shared team goal        - Own agenda
+ Collaboration           - No collaboration
+ Motivates others        - Dominates team
+ Aware of own skills &   - Failure to share
  limitations and the       responsibilities
  skills of others          according to skills
+ Compromises             - Failure to recognise
                            team contribution
Describe an example of a time when you had to deal with
pressure OR overcome a setback/challenge. What did you
do and what was the outcome?

   When cycling for Mencap earlier this year I led my team of five over
   a particularly challenging section of the route. My role as team
   leader carried significant pressure as I had to ensure that my team
   completed a certain amount of the course per day in order to meet
   up with the full group at designated stops. I was able to motivate my
   team to carry on during my period as leader, often cycled 80 miles
   per day in gruelling conditions, negotiating with local people and
   dealing with unmarked trails. My team cycled the section I was
   leading in record time. Patience with team members was key to
   ensure that they always remained motivated and engaged in the
   activity, even when it was tempting to be critical of their
(131 words)

Is this one better?
Describe an example from your clinical experience where
your behaviour enhanced the experience of the patient as
the central focus of care. What did you do and what was
the outcome?
   During my paediatric attachment I was part of the team caring for a
   child with learning disabilities who was admitted for squint surgery.
   She did not understand what was happening and became anxious
   and aggressive in the unfamiliar surroundings. Her mother was
   clearly stressed by this behaviour. I offered to stay with them and
   draw pictures for her to colour, which she liked, and she gradually
   settled. When the anaesthetist came, I was able to help negotiate
   how we could best care for her, and help the mother to represent
   her child. She would not accept cream on her hand, but had a
   sedative drink, which she took willingly from me, and I stayed with
   her as she became drowsy. I went to theatre with her and her
   mother and she was peacefully anaesthetised. By gaining her trust
   with care and patience I believe we avoided a potentially difficult
   day. (150 words)

Is this one even better?
What makes a good answer?
• Answer each part of the question clearly and fully.
• Choose an appropriate example that demonstrates what the
  question is looking for.
• Use facts & figures to set the scene – help scorer appreciate
  significance to you
• Describe specific actions
• Explain how – demonstrate your approach (more than just listing
  what you did)
• Outline results
• Assess the impact of your contribution
• Demonstrate skills which are directly relevant to foundation training
• Reflect on experience in terms of relevance to foundation training
• Show development, learning and understanding.
• Show a positive attitude – willing to learn from experience
Mind your language - Use action
verbs wherever possible…
•   Achieved       •   Led
•   Advised        •   Conducted
•   Audited        •   Initiated
•   Co-ordinated   •   Developed
•   Managed        •   Prioritised
•   Organised      •   Liaised
•   Tested         •   Negotiated
•   Taught         •   Analysed
For example…
   “ A group of colleagues and I took part in an audit
   project into outpatient waiting times. After looking at the
   data we found a number of weaknesses in the booking
   process and subsequently made changes that improved
   efficiency and significantly reduced waiting times”
   “I volunteered to coordinate an audit of outpatient waiting
   times. I was responsible for leading a team of three
   colleagues . After analysing the data, we identified
   significant weaknesses and implemented changes that
   resulted in an average reduction in waiting time of two
(Both 43 words)
Applications: Easy ways to lose points
• List prizes, jobs, experiences with no attempt to elaborate
• Underestimate the importance of the application form
     – The scorer doesn’t know you!
•   Leave out anything relevant
•   Be wary of name dropping
•   Inappropriate use of humour
•   Not answering the question / all parts of the question
•   Fail to reflect on outcomes or show insight
•   Give false information
•   Be messy or use bad spelling/grammar
•   Careful with “cut and paste”
Seek feedback
• Best way to learn is to accept constructive
  feedback – mentors/employers/networks

• Send copies of your AF to referees well in
  advance for their views
• Seek non medics views too
 In summary- A Good Application?
• Is it relevant to the person specification?
• Is it evidence based to support your
• Have you fully answered all the questions?
• Does it look professional?
• Is it submitted in good time?
Help available after form released:
•   Effective Applications for Doctors, produced by University of Manchester Careers
    Service, available from NW Deanery website:

•   Successful Applications For Foundation Training – Slides, available from NW
    Deanery website

•   Appointments at the Careers Service
     –   20 minute appointments (one per person)
     –   Wednesdays & Fridays from 15 October – 5 November
     –   Ground Floor Crawford House (Building 31 on campus map)
     –   Booth Street East
     –   Manchester
     –   M13 9QS
     –   Tel 0161 275 2829
     –   (book in advance by ‘phone from 13 October)
    Manchester Medical Students’
          Careers Blog
Articles, hints & tips and advice:
       And Next . . .

       An Exercise

What is the difference that makes
  a difference in the scoring
 Appropriateness of example
Describe an example from your own experience (either
clinical or non-clinical) that has increased your
understanding of the importance of teamworking. What
was your role and contribution to the team?

Identifies team situation in which applicant was involved
and which has increased their understanding of
importance of teamworking. This is NOT about
Positive and Negative Indicators
Describe an example (not necessarily clinical) of a time when you had to deal
with pressure OR overcome a setback / challenge. What did you do and what
was the outcome?

Positive Indicators                     Negative Indicators
• Positive approach to challenge        • Sees challenges as problems
• Did not lose sight of wider           • Attempts to deal with situation
  needs of situation                      alone
• Recognised own limits                 • Inappropriate strategies to
• Able to compromise                      manage stress
• Willing to seek help when
• Effective strategies to deal with
          Scoring Template
Points Indicators
       Blank, incomprehensible, irrelevant
       Poor example, no description of event and outcome
       Poor example + limited description OR Appropriate example + no
  2    description
       Poor example + clear description + >1 positive indicator OR
       Appropriate example + limited description
       Appropriate example + clear description + >1 positive indicator +
  4    0 negative indicators
       Appropriate example + clear description + >2 positive indicator +
  5    0 negative indicators
       Appropriate example + clear description + >3 positive indicator +
  6    0 negative indicators
A. Describe an example of a situation where
  you had to demonstrate your
  professionalism and/or integrity. What did
  you do and what was the outcome

B. Give an example of a non-academic
  achievement explaining both the
  significance to you and the relevance to
  foundation training
      Answers to Question A
During my surgical attachment I was assisting the
specialist registrar in an operation and noticed that he
was behaving strangely, and repeatedly dropping
instruments and appearing distant. Although the
operation was proceeding uneventfully I felt something
was wrong, but was reluctant to address this in front of
the theatre team. However, I also thought the patient
may be at risk. The consultant arrived and I decided to
stand down from the operating table and asked if he
could assist as I was feeling unwell. My prompt action
ensured that the patient’s safety was protected. I then
spoke in confidence to the consultant. He confirmed that
he would complete the list himself, told the SpR that he
was concerned and arranged for a colleague to sit down
with him to discuss his concerns. The SpR was found to
be abusing narcotics due to personal stress and has
since been successfully rehabilitated
      Answers to Question A
ii) While a medical student, I was asked by the
consultant to perform a rectal examination on an
anaesthetized patient. This placed me in a very
compromising position and I decided to refuse to do
what was asked. I knew that consent had not been
requested and decided that it was unacceptable.
Although chastised by the consultant I stood my ground
and did not examine the patient.
I discussed the situation with my colleagues who agreed
that they were confused by the conflicting advice they
were given. We wrote a paper about this for the student
BMJ which I led. The paper was published and the
university changed their protocols regarding consent and
dealing with anaesthetized patients. I learned that my
integrity was something that makes me not only a
professional but also a person I can live with.
     Answers to Question B
 i) I have competed at national level for the
university basketball team. This has required
me to be highly organised in planning my
basketball training whilst ensuring my
commitment to my medical training, I have had
to be focussed and disciplined, which I believe
will provide a good foundation when I qualify. I
have also learnt the importance of work-life
balance and how to keep fit and healthy, which
will be of great value when starting foundation
training and its associated training
       Answers to Question B
ii) I have moved from my home country, Australia,
   to the UK by myself. Knowing no one I had to
   find myself a place to live, a job and develop a
   support network. This has given me the ability
   to be self sufficient and to be able to tackle a
   problem by myself if required, abilities that are
   important in foundation training. It has also
   allowed me to see the importance of trusting the
   people around you at work as they often can
   help you find a way. When working in a hospital,
   I see this as an important trait to have to ensure
   a patient receives the best care possible.
Applying for a

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        and resources to support you in achieving your potential.

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