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What Can You Expect?

Becoming a Consultant is a milestone – a big milestone indeed - but that is all it is.  It is a point in a journey that has taken a number of years to reach but the learning that is part and parcel of a medical career continues.  As a Consultant you have new expectations placed upon you and new responsibilities and at times this can seem daunting.  On the other hand, there is a sense of achievement in reaching this stage of your career, and the achievement in reaching this point is still great.

As a Consultant you continue to develop your understanding of team working, complexity and you play an increasing role within your organisation in planning and improving services.  Fundamental to your work is continuing to develop your clinical practice and experience such that within your team you come to be seen as a wise source of advice in cases that are complex and a calming influence on the overall work of the team. 

Consultant careers can take several paths – involvement in Training the next generation of Students, Doctors and Nurses appeals to some while others enjoy developing careers that take them more in the direction of service improvement and management.  Others pursue a research direction, deepening the scientific  knowledge base of the profession or developing links across disciplines that enlighten our understanding of psychiatric conditions and the social contexts in which they occur.  At different stages of the Consultant career, Doctors can focus on different aspects and switch between things as their careers develop.  The breadth of mental health services, and their importance to overall well being and outcomes more widely, means that Consultants are able to find avenues to explore where they can contribute hugely to health care in ways that are endlessly fascinating throughout their careers.


"In terms of preparation for movement into a Consultant role, the School of Psychiatry has helped me in a number of ways:

  • The first thing that springs to mind is the role of the Educational Supervisor.  My Educational Supervisor began guiding me and suggesting things that I could do to acquire the necessary skills and experience for Consultant practice right at the start of my ST4 year.  Through that longitudinal view of Training, I was well-supported all the way through Higher Training.
  • The opportunity to Act-Up in a Consultant role for three months was an invaluable experience, and was something that I was able to draw on in my Consultant interview.  I was well-advised and supported in preparation for this role by the Training Programme Director.
  • The Out Of Programme Experience that I was able to take part in with the School of Psychiatry gave me the opportunity to vastly increase my leadership and management experience. Through work with the Head of School, I was able to further develop a special interest that helped me in my job application and interview, and this is something that I will be able to continue as part of my role as a Consultant."

Dr Mike Akroyd, Consultant
South Yorkshire

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