Is medicine still a good career to get into?
What about the pharmaceutical industry? I have a friend who worked for Novartis (before moving to another company), and who simply loves/d what she does. They have sent her all over the world, and have paid for her PhD. She is now based in California and loving it.
And of course, it is medically-related.Posted 6 years agobarnsleymitchMember
I’m a nurse, rather than a doctor, but do spend a fair bit of time with medics. To be frank, I’ve been hearing complaints about too much paperwork and not enough patient contact throughout the twenty five years I’ve been doing it, and can honestly say it’s no different now to when I first started. Yes, there are times I wonder what the hell I was thinking choosing it as a career, but I couldnt imagine doing anything else. I’m a bit of a dinosaur, however, in still thinking that nursing or medicine is a vocation rather than a carefully thought out career, but whatever your reasons for getting into it, it’s still a worthwhile and noble profession.Posted 6 years agophilconsequenceMember
I’m a nurse, rather than a doctor, but do spend a fair bit of time with medics. To be frank, I’ve been hearing complaints about too much paperwork and not enough patient contact throughout the
twenty fiveslightly less time than b’mitch years I’ve been doing it, and can honestly say it’s no different now to when I first started. Yes, there are times I wonder what the hell I was thinking choosing it as a career, but I couldnt imagine doing anything else. I ‘m a bit ofwant to be a dinosaur, however, in still thinking that nursing or medicine is a vocation rather than a carefully thought out career, but whatever your reasons for getting into it, it’s still a worthwhile and noble profession.
Edited to reflect my own experience.Posted 6 years agoourmaninthenorthSubscriber
Mrs North seriously considered this when she’d finished her first degree (mol bio/biochem). She went to some interviews, but then decided the prospect of so much more exam stress wasn’t for her.
So… she went on to do a MSc and PhD..!
She’d still love to do it, but at 33 and the mother of a small child, it would be impossible to combine the two and remain sane.
So, if you are going to do it, and have got some good experience, go and do it now.
And be a good doctor. You know, the ones who know stuff AND listen… 😉Posted 6 years agocrikeyMember
Not a doc, but like those two old men above have worked with, in my case, the same doctors for 20 odd years. Medicine is changing, slowly but surely, becoming less of a test of physical endurance over 48 hour on calls and more a process of pass the exams and prove your worth.
I work with consultants who came through the old style training, who were junior doctors when I started, who do their job well, but I’m not that sure many of them will live to enjoy a ripe old age. I work and sometimes ride with newer consultants who seem to have a better work/life balance and are more normal as a consequence. There are more junior doctors about who have done other things before medicine, and I think they will make more rounded people in the long run.
If I’m ill though, give me some of that old time medicine…Posted 6 years ago
Well with the potential of graduating this summer (or the summer after if I don’t get too bored and do my 4th year to get a masters…) I really need to get a shift on a decide what I want to do “when I grow up”.
As long as I can remember I’ve always fancied medicine for a career. I know that to get onto a grad entry medicine course I’ll need some work experience, and this will help me decide if its actually for me, and I do intend to sort that out once my arm is better (or at least better enough that I won’t get confused as being a patient!) – side note, how easy will it be to get some sort of shadowing experience, I tried ver the summer and got no where…
But knowing a couple of people that have just graduated, and having heard lots of stories I’m not sure that its worth the 4/5 years more at uni, and then everything else you have to do. Seems to be more and more hours and more and more paper work and less and less helping people.
So do I want to go into “proper” medicine or am I better off using my chemistry degree to do something related to medicine (as thats what interests me most) either directly in a hospital or researching?
If you’re someone in the industry do you enjoy it? If you could start again would you still chose the same path?Posted 6 years ago
Quack here – and qualified 26 years ago. Don’t listen to any whingers. If you like people it can still be a cracking and rewarding job. Most of my friends in the trade like it. I don’t do a huge amount of paperwork, decent IT has taken care of that, and the paperwork I do do is necessary.
But then I don’t work in a hospital…
I think it would be a brave person who went into the pharmaceutical industry in the UK at the moment unless they were willing to move to the US or Europe.
Wrecker – I’d disagree. I went in to it because of family background, and it being an interesting challenging and well-rewarded profession. Talking to medical students I think the same is true for most today.
I’d actively worry about anyone who really felt a “vocation” to medicine at the usual Med school entrance age of 18-19, because they are probably either naively optimistic and about to be disappointed by reality, or they have a religious or psychological issue which means they may push their own agenda on patients. The best you can hope for is that as medical students mature and grow-up they develop into people who like, respect and enjoy other people.Posted 6 years agoFunkyDuncMember
Mrs FD is a hospital doc so I can only comment on how she finds it.
Firstly as above you should already know if you want to be a doc. Its not a career choice, but more that you want to help me. Sure there are some docs motivated by money but its hard getting there first, and to be fair hospital pay isnt that great for the amount of hours they put in (GP is different)
Mrs FD graduated from med school at the age of 31 having done a PHD previously (health care related) and previously having worked as a radiographer.
1. Its a hard course, I couldnt retain the amount of information they have.
2. You are put on placements which can be miles ie could be 2hr drive each way from where you live.
3. When you graduate you will only tend to get a 1 year contract, and you will have to bid for jobs any where in the UK, and its unlikely you will get the job you want. We had to move from Sheffield to Bradford.
This will continue through out your training until your a consultant, and you are posted on a new rotation with very little warning.
4. Although hours are reduced from what they used to ie 120+ You will still routinely work 60hrs +
5. However although you will still work long hours, it wont be enough to get all the training you need.
6. You will have to come in on annual leave days or not rota days just to get the training you need.
7. Pay isnt great (in hospital) and it will cost you £2k per year + just to be a doctor.
8. Its a very rewarding job and every day is different!Posted 6 years ago
Hourly rate for GPs and Hospital Drs at junior consultant level is about the same… Believe me, I have enough friends in both camps…
Choose your speciality wisely as a hospital doc (orthopods, ophthalmologists, Anaesthetists etc etc) and there is still oodles of money in private practice, and may be more with some of the abolition of waiting list targets by the current government… 👿
But – I’d agree with all your other points… the first 5 years of anyone training in a Surgical Speciality can be particularly hard. But most of us moved around a lot, and lived in a lot of places in our first 5 or 6 years qualified. And one thing which has really changed is that whilst many many Consultants had no idea what a hospital looked like at night and weekends, whilst we GPs were up all the time… the boot is very much on the other foot.Posted 6 years agolegolamMember
I’m a hospital doc, qualified just over 5 years ago and am currently about halfway to becoming a consultant. I went straight into medicine at Uni from school.
I couldn’t agree more with what FunkyDunc has said. Pay particular attention to points 2-7. Although we don’t work crazy long hours any more, that means our pay has gone down too (not to mention several years of pay freeze). Don’t underestimate the stress of either moving every 4 months or putting up with huge commutes (I commuted from Newcastle to Carlisle every day of last year, 130 mile round trip).
The job situation is also difficult. There is no guarantee of a job like there used to be, and you have to sit several expensive and difficult exams post graduation to even be allowed to be eligible for those jobs. Medical schools are putting out far too many graduates for the number of consultant posts and Trusts are trying to get rid of as many junior doctor posts as possible to avoid having too many consultants without jobs.
Despite all this, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I’ve worked jobs that are 9-5 and I bloody hated it. I couldn’t work in an office and at least as a doctor I have some sort of autonomy. I occasionally make a difference to someone’s life, but I mostly enjoy that every day is different, and I get to meet people from every conceivable part of society both as colleagues and patients.Posted 6 years ago
I wouldn’t say that I see medicine as a calling or anything like that; the appeal for me is that I’m just generally interested in medicine, its an environment where I think I’d feel challenged and 2 days are never going to be the same. Wouldn’t go into specifically because its helping people (I’m sure there are many things where you’d help people that would be a lot easier!), but I see that as more of an added bonus; if I’m going to do it, now is the time – I don’t have any ties so if I have to move about its not too much of an issue and likewise I’m used to a student budget so as long as I have prospects of getting a decent wage eventually it doesn’t bother me what wages are like to being with etc.
I definitely need to sort out some experience first though – wouldn’t want to make a big decision without something to base it on, and even if I did I’d never get onto a course!Posted 6 years agoFunkyDuncMember
Mrs FD wanted to do Plastics which linked in with her PHD work (she didnt want to do it for private practice) However its very competitve, the jobs are scarce and we would have had to move locations every year from one end of the country to another, not possible with a small child and a working Mr FD.
She settled for Orthopaedics and has a run through job ie an 8 year training post to consultant (like gold dust). It is again a very competitive speciality and the hours are long, training hard, and expectations high.
Re Private work. Indeminty insurance is very high to do Private work, and by the time you have paid theatre costs etc you need to put in a lot of extra private hours. Surgeons work enough hours as it is, so to do private work and it actually be profitable you basically will have no home life.Posted 6 years ago
Becky , I’m a GP. Not in it for the money but because I like the job. Minimum of 9-10 years from starting training to a non-training job. But I spent 14yrs doing various things.
FD. Sorry, but I have enough Consultant friends who do very very well, and whose working hours I do actually know. Money can be and is made. Nothing wrong with that. And I know radiologists and anaesthetists who add 50% to their NHS income with a half or full days work.Posted 6 years agojet26Member
I am an orthopaedic reg – as mentioned above the answers vary depending on which path you go down.
In short it’s a great job, no two days are the same and it is highly rewarding and enjoyable. There is a lot of crap to put up with, and especially in hospital medicine the career ladder is very hierarchical if that makes sense.
The guys leaving med school now have a tough time – the money is lousy due to the hours cuts – I got more 10 years ago than they get now.
Realistically if you want to do hospital medicine of some sort you are looking at 10+ years of hard work post med school assuming you work full time (if part time double it) to train to consultant level with exams along the way. It is at times very hard.
No amount of money in the world would make me change career – that probably tells you all you need to know. If you can find the right branch of medicine for you (and the spectrum is huge) it is worth every minute.
Feel free to mail me for more info (jamestoml at gmail dot com)Posted 6 years agoSuperficialMember
The only comment I’ll have in addition to all the good points here is that once you go into medical school, bar failing, there’s very little way off the track. Think of it as an apprenticeship – you’re trained to be a doctor and not much else. Sure, you can jump ship, but often there’s no way back, and it’s a big risk – to go from a well-paid, reasonably secure job to an unknown is a scary prospect. There are some fairly diverse arms of medicine though – from GP to psychiatry to anaesthetics to public health – so I think there’s something for most people.
I like it. Sure, it’s hard work sometimes, but it is occasionally quite rewarding in a way that I imagine few other jobs would be.
I think your motivations to try it are similar to mine, so in that respect I suspect you’ll get along fine. The NHS Cyclescheme is good, too.Posted 6 years agoratherbeintobagoSubscriber
ITU/Anaesthetics reg, in my final year of higher specialist training, and passed the 10 year mark after graduation in Aug. It is a fantastic job, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
An important point that needs to be made is that it’s not worth worrying too much about how things are at the sharp end now – by the time you get there, it will undoubtedly have changed (when I went to medical school in 1995 it was still more-or-less the glory days of 80 hour 1:3 weekends, but by the time I qualified in Aug 2001 we were the first house to be on full shift working)
What jet26 says above about flexible training is true, and there are people I know who will have been registrars for 10+ years once M/L is taken into account, plus their SHO/PRHO time. Further to this is the very real prospect of having to move regions at least once in the course of training, and possibly again for a permanent post.
If you’d like some off-forum advice, my email address is in my profile.
Oh, and the NHS Cyclescheme isn’t available if you rotate hospitals and thus employers every six months – while sick pay/pension etc. are transferable between NHS organisations, for some (HMRC) reason salary sacrifice stuff like C2W and childcare vouchers aren’t.
AndyPosted 6 years agoratherbeintobagoSubscriber
At the moment I’m on 6 monthly rotations (ACCS trainee) but I’ve just got a bike on the cyclescheme. I don’t know how it works, but it seemed pretty easy for me.
Depends on the local set up. Some Deaneries employ centrally (one trust employs the individual for the whole of their rotation, and they are placed in the hospitals on the rotation) and others employ locally (the individual is employed by their place of work).
AndyPosted 6 years agoGasman JimMember
This is a very complex question and this forum is not the best place to find the answer.
From where I am now (Consultant Anaesthetist working in Wales with 20 years until retirement) – yes it has been worth it. Quite an interesting job with some interesting colleagues, good job security and reasonable money. But it has been hard work to get here and those outside of medicine don’t realise quite how hard (80+ hours per week as a junior, hours over the first 40 paid at HALF standard rate, negatively marked postgraduate exams, working nights 1:4 etc, etc).
But I wouldn’t like to be starting at the bottom again, unless working abroad (Australia, Canada, NZ) are serious options for you in the future. The UK government are about to dismantle the NHS in England and let the private sector run riot, they’re also screwing us out of our NHS pensions. Plus EWTD has made a complete dogs dinner of training for junior doctors and continuity of care for patients.Posted 6 years ago
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