I surveyed my cohort of F1s to find out how prepared they felt for their jobs as a result of the information they were given in the hospital handover document. The findings were not encouraging. Nineteen of the 30 doctors responded to the questionnaire, but only two thought that the hospital handover provided adequate information about what their job entailed. The cohort reported it had “limited useful information” and was “not very helpful on day-to-day workings of FY1 life.”
If you can identify with these experiences, perhaps you should create a handover document for your hospital. The best time to start thinking about this is now, when questions are fresh in your mind and before those processes unique to your hospital become second nature. Obviously, a lot of things can change in a year, but medical jobs are essentially similar. Keep a note of all those things you wish you’d been told at the start of your job—they will form an invaluable starting point.
If you do decide to create a handover document, speak to senior doctors in your trust about your idea—they will be able to advise you about the handover tools your trust already has at its disposal and help introduce you to useful contacts. The last thing you want to do is spend ages creating a fantastic handover document and then find someone has beaten you to it. At my trust we worked closely with our foundation programme director, who gave us a huge amount of support throughout the process.
However, the most important factor to ensure your handover document is a success is getting your colleagues involved. Our handover document would not have been possible without the help and feedback we received from our F1 colleagues.