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when does the work/life balance of junior doctors improve???

i can’t find an answer to this anywhere - that may mean it’s just an obvious answer so please don’t judge

do all junior doctors work the same long hours no matter their training speciality - eg, if a third year doctor is starting speciality training, is this complementary to the work they’ve been doing already in the hospital, with extra focus in that area, or do they work in that area of medicine ONLY. And if the speciality is more of a ‘lifestyle’ speciality, eg psychiatry, does it only become this once you’re a consultant or is the work/life balance decent (compared to foundation years at least) throughout training as well? Ofc you can expect someone specialising in something like surgery to maybe have longer hours but will those specialising in, i guess ‘less intense’ specialities work better hours? I want to be a doctor but I want to at least be able to stop working such long and unpredictable hours after foundation years. Just to clarify I want to do psychiatry either way, I have for years, i’m not considering it only for a better balance but a decent work/life balance is just important to me.
(edited 9 months ago)
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Reply 2
Original post by lkjhgfdsazxcvbnm
i can’t find an answer to this anywhere - that may mean it’s just an obvious answer so please don’t judge

do all junior doctors work the same long hours no matter their training speciality - eg, if a third year doctor is starting speciality training, is this complementary to the work they’ve been doing already in the hospital, with extra focus in that area, or do they work in that area of medicine ONLY. And if the speciality is more of a ‘lifestyle’ speciality, eg psychiatry, does it only become this once you’re a consultant or is the work/life balance decent (compared to foundation years at least) throughout training as well? Ofc you can expect someone specialising in something like surgery to maybe have longer hours but will those specialising in, i guess ‘less intense’ specialities work better hours? I want to be a doctor but I want to at least be able to stop working such long and unpredictable hours after foundation years. Just to clarify I want to do psychiatry either way, I have for years, i’m not considering it only for a better balance but a decent work/life balance is just important to me.


Anti-social work varies according to specialty - yes, this includes during training years.

A psychiatry SHO will spend less of their time doing out of hours work compared with an A&E SHO (for example). A psychiatry registrar will generally do non-resident on calls (i.e. from home) and come in if required.
Reply 3
Retirement.

In all seriousness, it depends. And not just on specialty (though if you're doing full time, aiming for CCT, then specialty plays more of a part).

You could finish FY2 and perma-locum part time, for example. If you don't mind not being linked to one location and not progressing to reg/consultant, then in London, you could work 20 hours a week in A&E for more than the average full time wage in London (and have an extra 17 hours a week to play with).

Equally, you could go through GP training and 5-6 years after completing your degree be doing the same on 8 hours a week, i.e. one shift, often able to be worked from home. Equally, you could meet in the middle and get to consultant level in a specialty and do the same. However I think most people tend to stick with the NHS directly
Reply 4
It doesn't get better immediately after foundation training, in most specialties. The SHO level rota (which often includes FY2s as well as CT/ST1-2s and GP trainees) will include antisocial hours most of the time. As a registrar it varies more - for most acute inpatient specialties you'll be in hospital and on your feet for most of a night shift, for example, but others may be on call from home (e.g. micro, pathology or indeed psychiatry). In my specialty, I was doing full shifts right up to CCT, BUT the additional expectations on us were much less than on surgical trainees - there's lots of unofficial pressure on them to be doing their boss's list on days off, coming in for additional training opportunuties etc, which there just isn't in anaesthetics.

I'm a consultant now and my working pattern is more steady than before, but I still don't have loads of free time. Having kids will also throw spanners into every bit of the works...

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