The F3 year: You’ve reached a milestone in your training, so where next?



We have outlined the opportunities available for doctors starting their F3 year.

Only 38% of trainees are continuing straight into a specialty training post. A huge 14% of these doctors opted to take a career break, whilst 18% continued in service posts (LAS posts). Other juniors have taken posts abroad or are taking on further studies.

Below is a flowchart to help and inspire your decision making. Before you get started, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

    • Which parts of being a doctor do you love?
    • What would allow you to do more of that?
    • What might be stopping you?
    • Which parts of being a doctor do you dislike?
    • Can you categorise your dislikes under different areas?
      • E.g. “inflexible rotas” or “out of hours work”
    • How could you fix this issue?
      • E.g. “I can find locum work where I can pick the shifts.”
    • Instead of a “to do” list (pass MRCP part 1 etc.) make yourself a “to be” list.
      • E.g. “In 5-10 years’ time I want to be a portfolio GP. I want to work less than full-time in urgent care and can run my own business on the side.”
    • What opportunities are available now which could help you on your road to who you want to be?

Take a look at the chart below and see what an exciting year lies ahead!

Roles in detail

NHS locum shifts/fellow

This is the classic route for F3 doctors. This will give you more flexibility and higher pay. There are always locum shifts available, so supply for work is not an issue.
The best place to find a more permanent role is via Messly Jobs. If you are looking to pick up locum shifts ad hoc, sign up to our tailored service at Messly Locum.

Hospital roles in New Zealand or Australia

You may already have doctor friends who have taken the step of working in New Zealand or Australia. There is a better work/life balance and a higher quality of life.
Helpful websites to find opportunities are:

Adventure Medicine

If you have a good appetite for adventure, expedition medicine is the right career for you. There would be lots of travel, new challenges, and working far away from the NHS frontline.
The Adventure Medic is a great resource. They have information about the qualifications required and current opportunities available.


It’s commendable if you have the motivation to volunteer as a doctor. This can be tough but rewarding work. Particularly in developing or even war-torn countries.
The BMA has resources on their website for doctors who would like to get involved.

Private hospital roles

You can still work as a doctor but a step back from the NHS frontline by working in a private hospital. There are many private healthcare providers who are searching for Fellows and RMOs.
Here are a few to get you started:

Research Physician

If you have a more academic side we’d suggest working as a research physician. A few examples of recruiters for these roles are below:


If you have a mind for details and are keen to learn, Medicolegal work may be a good option for you. NHS Careers sets out how you can get into this field. Your F3 year may be the perfect opportunity to step into another field, earn more money and add new skills to your CV.

Research/gaining a Masters

The National Institute for Health Research is a good place to start if you want to pursue a career in research.

Medical Journalism/ Writer

Most doctors have skills outside of the clinic room. If you are keen writer, commenter or reader and want to become the next Adam Kay or Henry Marsh, this is the career for you.
Look into medical journalism through the NHS Careers website.

Medical Education

If you love teaching, develop these skills by becoming a Clinical Teaching Fellow. Check out opportunities at You may need to have postgraduate qualifications in medical education. Some roles do allow you to gain this qualification at the same time as working.

National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme

Spend 12 months in a healthcare company to develop your potential as a medical leader of the future. All the information you need is here.


If you love to teach and want to use your skills to ignite a passion for science in children, check out Teach First.


Healthcare startups are gaining traction in the UK. There are many opportunities to get involved in new and revolutionary ideas.
It’s important to keep your ear to the ground to hear about the best options. In the meantime, take a look at AngelList to see what’s out there.
If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, apply for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Training Programme.

Management consultancy

Develop business skills and use all the attributes you have as a doctor. The well-known businesses include McKinsey, BCG and Bain. PwC, Ernst-Young and Deloitte are also household names. Smaller firms such as PA Consulting may also appeal to you.

Medical sales

This requires excellent communication skills and a deep interest for business & negotiation. Prospects has a page outlining this as a career option.


Impact on many patients care by working to develop a new treatments and get them to market. NHS Careers has a page which describes this career in more detail.

Medical writing

Communicate research and science in an engaging way. Here are a few companies where you can get into medical writing:

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