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Changing jobs at 50

  • Joan Smithies (a1)
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As I was celebrating my 50th birthday in March 2003, I was serving out my notice in the job I had held for 17 years as a consultant in old age psychiatry for a population of 18 500 and latterly as trust deputy medical director for elderly mental health.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Herzberg, F. (1966) Work and the Nature of Man. London: Harper Collins.
Houghton, A. (2002) How do we limit ourselves? British Medical Journal, 324, S107.
O'Connor, S. & Vize, C. (2003) The ‘Catch-22’ of recruitment and retention in psychiatry. Psychiatric Bulletin, 27, 443445.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Changing jobs at 50

  • Joan Smithies (a1)
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eLetters

Old age psychiatrists: stills and mobiles

Susan M Benbow, Consultant Psychiatrist (Old Age Psychiatry), & Professor of Mental Health & Ageing
28 February 2005

Smithies writes about her experience in moving consultant post (Psychiatric Bulletin, February 2005, 29, 65-66). We can compare the characteristics of consultants who remained in post (stills) with those who moved to a new post (mobiles) between two surveys of workload and stress in consultant old age psychiatrists (Jolley & Benbow, 1997; Benbow & Jolley, 2002). Of those who contributed to both surveys, one quarter changed post over 4 years. Mobiles did not differ significantly from stills in relation to age, gender, marital status, or work pattern. Individual doctors described similar stress levels in both surveys, suggesting that stress profile remains stable. Mobiles were slightly younger than stills, and more often came from small teams, rather than working alone or in a larger team (but these findings were not statistically significant). Measures of stress in the second survey did not differentiate between the groups.

The mobility of consultant psychiatrists is an important feature of NHS practice. Moving is not, however, associated with an abnormal stress profile, or a change in an individual's perceived level of stress.

A mobile workforce brings with it advantages and disadvantages. Bringing new ideas and approaches from one culture into another is enlivening and stimulating. It avoids the risk of staff losing enthusiasm through boredom and sameness. For patients and carers, it reduces the riskthat institutionalization will mask, conceal, excuse or condone poor or exploitative behaviour. Too much change can be counterproductive, undermining certainty and confidence, and deleting the efficiencies derived from established interpersonal links.

References

BENBOW, S.M. & JOLLEY, D.J. (2002) Burnout and stress among old age psychiatrists. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17, 710-714.

JOLLEY, D.J. & BENBOW, S.M. (1997) The everyday work of geriatricpsychiatrists. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 12, 109-113.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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