INTRODUCTION: The Foundation Interim Year-one (FiY1) Programme was part of a UK strategy to increase the medical workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the strategy was introduced urgently without evidence. We sought to explore the transition experience of medical student to FiY1 to foundation doctor, with a view to inform future undergraduate education.
METHODS: In this hermeneutic phenomenology study, semi-structured individual interviews were completed with nine foundation doctors who had experience of an FiY1 placement. A template analysis approach was taken, and themes reported.
RESULTS: Participants reported that FiY1 tended to offer a positive experience of transition as a stepping stone to becoming a foundation doctor. Having a degree of clinical responsibility including the right to prescribe medication with supervision was highly valued, as was feeling a core member of the healthcare team. Participants perceived that FiY1 made them more prepared for the foundation transition, and more resilient to the challenges they faced during their first foundation job.
DISCUSSION: The FiY1 fostered many opportunities for junior doctors to bridge the transition to foundation doctor. Aspects of the FiY1 programme, such as early licencing and increased team membership, should be considered for final-year students in the future.