Consultant PsychiatristHow did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
Psychiatry attachments and course as part of medical degree (MBChB)
Intercalated BSc(Hons) Degree in Psychology
I never knew when at school what I wanted to do. I was advised, mainly by family, that a medical degree was a good first degree to have, since there is such a variety of different career pathways within medicine.
It is also harder to change to Medicine from another University course, than vice versa.
Aberdeen Grammar School (left 1985), Edinburgh University Medical School (MBChB 1991), Intercalated BSc(Hons) Psychology (1989), 'House jobs' as Junior Doctor in General Medicine and Surgery (1year 1991-1992,Edinburgh and Livingston), Senior House Officer job in Old Age Medicine (6 months, Edinburgh), BasicTrainee Psychiatry jobs (Edinburgh and Tayside, 3 years 1993-1996): Membership of Royal College of Psychiatrists 1996, Research Fellowship, University Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Dundee 1996-1999 (PhD 2003), Higher Training in Psychiatry (2000- certificate of completed training 2006 (flexible training), Consultant Psychiatrist since 2007.Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
Clinical Lead for multidisciplinary team in Substance Misuse Service, Clinics with patients requiring medical/ psychiatric assessment who have a dependence on drugs/ alcohol, Prescribing and Consultative role, liaising and referral to other services, writing letters to/ communicating with GPs, Teaching medical students often during clinics, also lectures, tutorials, workshops, supervising trainees. Clinical Audit, Quality Improvement and Research. Managerial and Governance responsibilities, Attending and Chairing meetings, Continuing Professional Development and Appraisal.Was it your planned career when you were 18?
No. Except that I went to medical school. I had a vague idea that I might want to end up doing Research.What did your mum and dad want you to do?
They never overtly commented, but did advise me that Medicine was a good idea if I was unsure, since it was such a diverse field and the job security was good. I come from a very medical backgroundWhat advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
Speak to as many doctors as you can before you decide. Be prepared to work harder than you might imagine, sometimes to the point of sacrificing other areas of your life. On the other hand, there are big rewards that follow from hard work in terms of job satisfaction and interesting life experiences.What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
Many very diverse fields eg. Pathology, Haematology, Anaesthetics, Surgery, Cardiology, Psychiatry, Public Health.
Being a Psychiatrist is very hard work and can be stressful, but it is highly rewarding and is never dull. It is probably the medical specialty where you get to know your patients as people the most. You learn a lot about other people's lives, which is a great privilege.