A Typical Day for a Junior Doctor

Any doctor below the level of ST3 is a junior doctor. This includes the following (training and non-training) doctors:

  • FY 1
  • FY 2
  • CT/ST 1
  • CT/ST 2


A Typical Day on the Wards

  • Reaching work 5-10 minutes before time.
  • Replying to emails.
  • Printing a list of patients on the ward. We can note down our tasks for the day on these lists (these lists are made and updated by doctors and nurses).
  • Morning Handover: the night doctors update us about significant events and patients; we discuss treatment strategies for different patients. All doctors (from juniors, middle grades to consultants) attend the Morning Handover. We divide into different teams that look after different wards.
  • Morning ward round.
  • Making sure orders are followed during and after the round. These orders can include the duties mentioned here.
  • 30-minute Lunch break.
  • If all work is done before 17:00, you can help your colleagues, study on your own or take a bit of a break.
  • Update the lists which need to be printed in the morning.
  • Replying to emails.
  • Evening handover.
  • Leave for home at 17:00


A Typical Night on the Wards

  • Reaching work on time, or 5-10 minutes before your time if you wish to be nice to your colleagues.
  • Taking Handover from the day doctor. In this Handover, you are told about the leftover tasks (which can include any of the tasks mentioned here) and about any patients which are not stable and you might need to keep your eye on them.
  • If there are a lot of leftover tasks or a few serious patients, you can expect a busy night.
  • If you do not get too many tasks or serious patients, you can expect to have more time to yourself.
  • Leftover tasks can include the following duties mentioned here.
  • You might or might not have a registrar with you, depending on which department you are working in. If you do not have your registrar with you, they will be available on call and if need be, they will come to the wards to assist you.
  • You might be able to get a nap depending on how busy the night is or in which department you are working, but you will have your pager on you at all times and you will have to answer the pager whenever anyone needs you.
  • Update the lists which need to be printed in the morning.
  • Morning Handover where you and your registrar will update the rest of the teams about the significant events and patients.



Individual duties and days may vary depending on each department and Trust. But this post can give a good idea of a life of a junior doctor in the NHS.

27 thoughts on “A Typical Day for a Junior Doctor

    1. After mrcp are there jobs for all…nowadays I am hearing that its saturated and not possible to stay in uk.

  1. I would greatly appreciate if some junior doctor from surgery department would describe his/ her typical day.
    I need to ask about emergency duties as well. Is it a duty of dr on floors to attend emergency calls? Or u have to stay in the ward only?
    Plus hows the doctors’room usually? Is it separate for male and female drs? Do they give separate lockers to each dr? Do these rooms have attached washrooms?

    1. As a part of my job, I work for a week in the surgical side of the renal department every two months. So this post covers the surgical ward experience as well.

      Emergencies are handled by A&E doctors. A&E is a very hectic department and I was advised by my friends to not go for A&E as my first job in the UK.

      The doctors’ room has three chairs and two computers. Males and females share the same room. Separate lockers are available.

      Washrooms are not attached but are present at numerous places within the department.

    1. No, they’re not. The only difference I have felt is that there is a lot more time spent on the computers in the UK to check and write records and notes.

  2. Hi, Naseer! Why would you not advise AnE as a first job? What can we expect working there that makes you give this advice? I am saying that because I am an emergency doctor in my home country and I am thinking to be an AnE doctor in England too. Thank you for your awesome work here.

    1. There is absolutely nothing in working in the A&E. That advice is for general people who do not wish to pursue A&E in the future. Because A&E is more hectic than they realize. If you wish to pursue A&E and if you have been working in A&E back home, then you should go for it.

  3. Hi Naseer
    Thanks fir your kind efforts to make life easy for new doctors joining or think to join, may i ask, any idea about typical day of a specialty anesthesia doctor?
    One more enquiry, i received some job posts for associate specialist anesthesia post, any information about the position and duty?
    Thanks alot for your time and informative posts.

    1. I am very sorry but since I have not worked in anesthesia, I have no idea about a typical day, position or duty in anesthesia. It would be best to post this question on Facebook to get guidance from those who have experience in anesthesia.

  4. assalam alaykum.
    please I’d like to know if female muslim doctors are forced to shake hands with male patients during plab 2 exam and while working in UK. Thank you.

    1. No one ever forces anyone for anything in the UK. Usually people do not shake hands in the UK. However, at times people can offer their hand to you to shake it.

  5. Hi, I appreciate your guide.
    Want to ask about combining your typical day and rota, how is it and is it hectic?

    1. It depends on your trust, your department, your support, your colleagues, your seniors, your consultants, the patient load, the nurses and your skills. So the answer is heavily subjective.

  6. What would be your response,if i say i want to go through oncology as my feild?

  7. how is the situation there for muslims and pakistani? with punish a muslim day and all anti muslim campaign. is it safe to go and work there?

  8. Hi, I would like to know how many fy2 doctors are posted in one ward… In other words, are we the only doctor responsible for the patients during our duty time! Of course consultants will be there but they neednt be present during the entire day.. Kindly reply.. Thanks in advance

    1. This varies a lot. You can be alone, if it’s a small unit. However, most wards have multiple SHOs. Registrars can also be present. Don’t worry. Everyone adjusts to the system. 🙂

  9. Good morning sir …I completed my MBBS in India and I have 5yrs of experience…I am not radiology seat in Indian exam…can you please tell meme I choose plab as my next option …can I I get radiology in UK sir..Ty

  10. Hi Dr. Naseer, what do you think about an IMG working in A&E as the first non-training post? Is it a good or bad idea?

    Thank you!

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