Dr Janine Griffiths finds fulfilment in being SAS by choice
08 December, 2021
My name is Dr Janine Griffiths and I am a SAS doctor by choice.
I have been asked to do a blog about myself to share with you my story and show that being a SAS doctor is a positive and fulfilling life choice.
I have no idea where to start so I’ll start at the beginning. I am a working-class girl from Liverpool and for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a doctor. I didn’t have a clue what that entailed other than lots of studying and going to university.
I was delighted to get a place at Newcastle University and after 5 years of studying (and enjoying myself) I qualified in 1997. As a junior doctor I was unlucky enough to be a part of the cohort who worked more than 100 hours some weeks, with the expectation that you just accepted it, I can honestly say those first few years nearly turned me away from medicine. Fortunately, as part of my GP training I did a six-month placement in Psychiatry. At last I’d found a specialty that suited me. For a few years I progressed in my psychiatry training, but ill health meant I needed to reduce my work and train less than full time. It was all progressing as the system tells you to, I was completing placements, doing on calls and passing exams.
I was then lucky enough to give birth to twins and 17 months later another beautiful baby. This was the second turning point in my career. What do I do? I had three babies and a demanding career. How can I possibly manage on calls and changing job locations every six months or so? After much deliberation I realised I wanted to be a hands-on Mum. I wanted to enjoy my children and be present in their lives, but I was a doctor and I wanted a career. I’d worked hard for this. Many people told me this wasn’t possible, but they were wrong.
I spoke with supervisors, management and other doctors and I realised there was the option of becoming an SAS doctor, I applied for a job in the Early Intervention team as a part time SAS. This was the best career decision I have ever made.
Being an SAS doctor has meant I have had a fulfilling career, working less than full time, with no on calls. I have had many opportunities for personal development. I have been the LNC representative, SAS Lead, an appraiser, and now SAS rep for Perinatal Psychiatry for the Royal College.
My work has fitted around my life. I have been able to enjoy all 4 of my children (yes, I had another one) I am a present parent and a doctor who loves her job. I get real personal satisfaction from my work and from being a parent.
I reckon the working-class girl from Liverpool has managed to have it all thanks to SAS by choice.