These Are What We’d Call ‘The Basics’

In February, when I was sitting on my hotel balcony in Madeira, my phone pinged with an email from Oriel, the system that coordinates recruitment to NHS training programmes. I had unsynced my phone from my work emails, and given them my personal email address, because paranoia is a valid thing. They had received my job application and I would hear in due course whether I’d been shortlisted for interview.

I was. My interview is on Friday.

Increasingly nauseated, and thank you for asking.

The email had admonished: “Most candidates prepare properly for interview. Please make sure that you are one of them.” 

It turns out that interview preparation is to get gems like this out of the way with before accidentally saying them out loud when it counts.

The scene is Nandos, on a Monday night.

We have not yet been interrupted by a man who has read the title of my book and wants to quiz me on the future of the NHS under a Conservative government, so in that sense we’re one up on the last time we tried to do interview prep in this Nandos.


Friend: You are the medical registrar. You have been fast paged to a surgical ward. On arrival, you are told by a nurse that the patient is two days post-op and has been found unresponsive. Go.

Me: I would ask the nurse to put out a 2222 call if one hasn’t been already, and to come back with the arrest trolley.

Friend: Yes.

Me: I would conduct an A to E assessment —

Friend: The patient is unresponsive on the floor, what would be the first thing you would check for?

Me: I would conduct an A to E assessment, so I would start with A and check whether their airway was patent.

Friend: What would be the first thing you would check for?

Me: *flustered* I am conducting an A to E assessment.

Friend: They are unresponsive on the floor.



Er, please give me a job?



  1. Pingback: What’s Next? | The Road Less Travelled

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