A taster is a period of time, usually 2-5 days, spent in a specialty in which the Foundation doctor has not previously worked, which enables the development of insight into the work of the specialty and which promotes careers reflection.
Tasters are primarily for foundation doctors wishing to experience a specialty not in their Foundation Programme. Please note that taster days should where possible be taken within your employing trust unless the chosen specialty is not provided by your trust. Any requests for taster days away from your employing trust will require approval by both your home trust and the trust with which you want to undertake the tasters.
The UKFPO has published guidance aimed at supporting the development of high-quality tasters in each locality of every foundation school Guidance on Specialty Tasters for Foundation Doctors. There are already many examples of good practice in this area and this document aims to support all Foundation Programmes in developing career exploration for their foundation doctors.
Please note - Severn does not currently operate a 'register' system for tasters.
Psychiatry Taster Days for Foundation Doctors
If you are a Foundation Year 1 or Year 2 doctor who is interested in applying for psychiatry, we would like to encourage you to spend 1-2 days following a postgraduate psychiatrist and their team to learn about what the job and training entails. More information here.
Liz Ewins, Specialty Trainee Year 4 in Older Adult Psychiatry, Bristol
Helen Sharrard, Consultant in Learning Disability, Bristol
Ami Kothari, Core Trainee Year 3 in Psychiatry, Bristol
Laura Adcroft, Foundation Doctor Year 2, Swindon
Have authored an article in the BMJ on Trainee led taster days
Examples of Tasters
2-Day Taster in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Initial meeting with named consultant morning of first day, and a timetable organised to ensure experience gained was directed towards foundation doctor’s requirements – a specific request was made to get an idea of what life was like as a specialist doctor in training.
Day 1 - Shadowed ST1 in gynaecology. Time spent in theatre and the ward- to see how sick patients identified and treated and how GP referrals were processed.
Day 2 - On labour ward. Was able to watch how a difficult delivery was managed and observe a caesarean section.
While on ward, was able to make contact with other members of the team and make arrangements to carry out an audit.
Comments ‘the taster days were wonderful…they proved invaluable in confirming my interest in the speciality as well as giving me an opportunity to carry out an audit in the field’
4-Day Taster in Paediatrics
Initial meeting with named consultant in the morning, when they discussed career options, and determined how the taster could be focussed on specific areas of interest. The foundation doctor emphasised that this was a wide-ranging discussion which centred on 'what I had already done, what courses might be useful to attend, and how to improve my application.'
Day 1 - PICU
Day 2 - Paediatric cardiology. The foundation doctor was able to talk to those undertaking speciality training at different levels, this enabled an understanding of the training programme and its benefits and problems. Involvement in practical procedures in the ward and insight into ward duties
Day 3-4 - Paediatric A/E – clerked patients, getting useful feedback from senior paediatricians.
Comments ‘thoroughly useful experience. It allowed me to gain first-hand experience in my proposed future career and confirm it was what I wanted to pursue. It provided the focus to hopefully see through a successful application whilst being very enjoyable’.