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Welcome!

This is the online home of the FY1 Buddy Network.

Please follow the below links if you'd like to sign up to be a buddy, or are an FY1 looking for a buddy.

Please have a look around to find out more about who we are and what we do.

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What is the FY1 Buddy Network?

This is a scheme set up to match FY1s with more senior doctors (from FY2 onwards) to provide informal 1-1 support. The first year of being a doctor can be difficult for all sorts of reasons, and there are plenty of doctors willing to help, so this scheme has been set up as a way to find buddies for FY1s.

What is a Buddy?

- A mentor
- A source of support
- A friendly face
- A listening ear
- Someone to help with the potentially “stupid” questions about being a doctor
- Someone to talk to after a difficult situation at work
- Someone who can potentially offer some insight from their own experiences or knowledge

How it Works

We ask Buddies and FY1s to sign up using our forms so that we can try and pair people together - ideally working in the same hospital or nearby so you can meet face to face (as local social distancing rules allow). We ask a number of questions about specific issues and specialty etc to try and best match people. Sadly, we don't always get buddies and FY1s signing up in the same areas, so we may need to pair people more remotely (that you can contact by phone/email/skype etc), and sometimes we pair FY1s with 2 buddies to best match their needs.

FY1 Buddy Network Flow

FY1s will normally be matched up within a couple of weeks of signing up - this can be less but it can occasionally take longer, particularly when we first launch. We then send an email to both the buddy and FY1 to announce the match and share email addresses. We ask that both FY1 and buddy make efforts to contact each other as soon as they are able and look to arrange a face to face meeting (whether that be in person or with a video call as geography and circumstances allow) to help get to know each other. We also recommend that pairs share mobile numbers to allow better communication. Please only sign up if you would be willing to do all of this.

From then on it is up to the Buddy and FY1 to contact each other and mould the buddy relationship. We offer guidance on how best to do this and will do our best to help if any issues or concerns arise, but ultimately the relationship is shaped by the Buddy and FY1.

Where we Started

Following a discussion on the peer support Facebook group Tea & Empathy in 2017, we decided to set up a scheme to provide 1-1 peer support to FY1 doctors.

The first year of being a doctor can be a real struggle for many reasons, and there are plenty of doctors willing to help, provide a listening ear, reassurance, debrief, drink tea together, whatever needed. So, we created a Buddy system... the pilot year in 2017 worked well for some FY1s, less well for others. So we made some tweaks and expanded in 2018 - again with mostly positive feedback. In 2019 we launched this website, and worked to automate some of our matching process allowing us to expand and support even more FY1s across the UK, and continue to try to improve and develop however we can.

Please remember this is all run by a few junior doctors wanting to help. We have our own work commitments, and run this in our own time. There may be hiccups with the technology or some minor delays in getting back to you. Please bear with us.

Who are we?

Currently, the FY1 Buddy Network is co-ordinated by Dr Lailah Peel Clinical Fellow in A&E in the West of Scotland, Dr Natalia Pawlowska - specialty trainee in histopathology, in the Midlands, Dr Rosanna Bevan - CT2 psychiatry, London, with IT support from David Peel. We are all volunteers. Although we’re not affiliated to the NHS, foundation schools or any other official organisation, the work of our network has been endorsed and encouraged by various foundation school directors and staff within Health Education England.

You can contact any one of us via info@fy1buddynetwork.co.uk

Want a buddy?

Are you an FY1 and want a buddy to support you through this first year?

Learn More

Want to be a buddy?

Want to offer support to an FY1 at the start of their career?

Learn More

Want to support our work...?

This scheme is run by a small group of junior doctors alongside our own routine work in our free time. We therefore rely on donations in order to support our financial costs to make this happen. If you're able to, please consider a small donation to keep us going and supporting more FY1s.