Fourth year comprises of 8 specialty rotations and GP. The specialist rotations run from Monday to Wednesday, IRP on Thursday, and GP on Fridays. This year is a long year but compared to third year there is a lot more flexibility.
Much like the previous years, logbooks are used to assess each rotation with some rotations having a mini quiz or presentation required as a sign off. Luckily everything is formative, and good practice for IRP! Remember these are all specialist rotations, and they don’t expect you to be experts but it’s good to know and revise the common conditions in the rotations as they will be tested in finals!
In GP you have 8 visits, so really make the most of your time there. Be proactive and ask the GP if you can see patients by yourself and then present the patient back to them. You really do only get out what you put in so the more you practice, the better your skills will be. You also have a few simulated GP surgeries running in the year, which are similar to how an OSCE is ran but it is much more relaxed. They give you the chance to practice your skills in taking history, diagnosing and managing the patient. You go around in a pair and take it in turns which gives you the opportunity to give each other feedback too. The difference between third and fourth year is that you are expected to come to a diagnosis, communicate this to the patient and explain the management. As well as this, taking a history and suggesting appropriate examinations and investigations.
The IRP runs throughout the year, it is good to meet with your supervisor early and try to be organised and do a little bit every week. Otherwise you will have to cram things near the deadline, which isn’t always easy when doing your own research. You always think you have more time than you actually have! The IRP isn’t quite finished though when you’ve handed in the final piece; you also have to present you research at the IRP conference in front of your peers and some doctors and professors. You might get it easy or you might get grilled. It is formally marked and counts towards your overall IRP grade. Just be confident and concise and just enjoy the opportunity to practice those presentation skills.
So, in summary enjoy having that spare time before final year, there’s 40 weeks of it! It’s a marathon, not a sprint!