Read my career planning for doctors's blog
I am always fascinated by research that aims to demonstrate why doctors are stressed or why their job satisfaction should be high or isn't high etc. I usually find however that the conclusions drawn have somehow totally missed the point.
One such example https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/handle/2292/10034
has demonstrated that psychiatrists have more burnout but this is not correlated to job satisfaction as it is in most people.
Now forgive me if I have missed something but pretty much all of the conclusions they have made from this are just not valid or have gone entirely off beam.
I wonder if anyone else agrees with me.
The biggest omission being a very important issue - and it has been skirted entirely - does personality affect job satisfaction and tendency to burnout? I would say it very much does. It is not unreasonable to say that not only is a certain type of personality attracted to psychiatry but in fact to medicine as a whole.
I am not saying doctors are all the same - far from it - the diversity still amazes me 26 years into talking about careers with my clients. However as a group medics do tend to have some underlying characteristics which may in fact be contributing far more towards collective burnout than anything else.
One such trait is the inability to or reluctance to say no or crib up when things are not "right" - possibly due to fear of letting patients down or fear of loss of job.
I am forever hearing stories from doctors who are working in situations which - having been away from clinical work for 26 years - I can honestly say I would not have accepted back when I was clinical and which I feel it would be reasonable to stand up to in some way or form.
A recent one was an ST4 who was covering four doctors. This is not acceptable - yet they quietly took it on and consequently was expected at regular intervals to be in four places at once. My advice would have been to not accept covering others - or at a push one. OR to take on the four but everytime bleeped to "be somewhere else at someone elses behest" instead of apologising or feeling desperate or guilty and having to deal with irate other departments ... I would say warmly and politely and immediately " I am covering four doctors today and there is simply no way I can be in four places at once - so I think it is really important to call Mr Manager on extension 3003 and complain about this and explain to him just how important the task you need me to do is - then we might get some proper cover in this unit"
Ok - perhaps I am overly assertive or just plain bolshie (no surely not!) but... I would be thinking "I DID NOT DESIGN THE HOSPITAL OR ITS ORGANISATION PLUS I am not responsible for how things run so the person who should be called is the person who is responsible for how things run.
It is a good thing I left when I did as I expect i'd have got the sack by now. But then I'd have probably fought for unfair dismissal if they had not followed the book. I've been against inequality and particularly unfairness in work and in learning ever since I was 12 years old ( the first time I really stood up to others) so thats not a trait that is likely to change soon.
However putting an employment law hat on - I think if a doctor did get the sack or had to resign due to stress of covering four doctors - then a case of constructive dismissal could easily be brought and most likely would succeed.
My career is not dependent on working to other peoples' warped and unreasonable expectations of me. However it still makes my blood boil when I hear about others who are experiencing such.
One skill that I regularly cover in career planning is thus - assertiveness. NOT to the point where a person will get a verbal warning of course - but just enough to "shake" the system a little.