Supported and valued: why supervision proved to be a deal-breaker for one trainee
25 October, 2021
I had never really considered psychiatry as a career path in medicine until I embarked upon the four-month foundation placement that changed it all for me. It was a mixture of things that I had not seen in any of my other rotations – and I had seen a lot having qualified as a physiotherapist before joining medicine at university.
It was a busy inpatient adult inpatient ward in the heart of a busy city, but despite the fast turnover, my supervising consultant always had time for me. I was gobsmacked that even as a house officer, I got one hour of my consultants’ time every week.
Having experienced other specialties - general surgery, cardiology, paediatrics to name a few - I was aware that even the trainees in those areas did not get this dedicated time. This was a deal-breaker! This valuable time helped me ask questions, learn,
and connect the learning with practice. It was like having one to one tuition almost if I wanted it to be like that.
In supervision, the topics that I would bring would be varied! Why would I choose a particular depot medication over another for a patient with schizophrenia? Medication queries, diagnostic quandaries, understanding of defence mechanisms – I found my on-call hard, personal issues I was happy to talk about, the turmoil of buying my first house and wedding planning!
Supervision was what I wanted it to be. Sometimes my supervisor would also bring an agenda and we would go through that as well and consider the mandatory aspects of training, such as completing WPBAs and my portfolio.
I left this placement not only feeling equipped and competent as a house officer in psychiatry but nurtured and valued.
The support you receive in psychiatry is precious. From foundation doctor up to being a Higher Trainee in psychiatry, the supervision that is offered in psychiatry remains regular and constant. And it continues as a consultant too! I am now a relatively new consultant of less than five years and the support and supervision within my peer group now is priceless.
My great experiences as a Foundation Doctor in psychiatry helped me towards choosing psychiatry as a career, by my continued love for physical aspects of medical and particularly women’s health lead my interests as a core and high trainee towards perinatal mental health as a subspecialty.
Interested in a career in psychiatry?
As a psychiatrist, you’ll draw on your medical, scientific and interpersonal skills to work with people of all ages and from all walks of life. The treatment and support you provide will change lives.
Choose to make a difference.