Whilst Geriatrics or Care of the Elderly aren't always recognised as individual specialisms in every healthcare system around the world, in the UK they are treated individually. In actual fact, Geriatrics is the largest medical specialty within the NHS. The specialty itself is exciting and rapidly growing – concerned with all aspects of health and illness in older adults.
As an international recruitment agency, we often find that there are many misconceptions surrounding the specialty – the most prominent being that it mostly deals with ‘end of life’ care. This is not true! In fact, the palliative care work only counts for around 10% of a Geriatricians workload.
This Blog article aims to provide an insight into the benefits of working in Geriatrics and why you should consider it as a specialty when applying for NHS Jobs!
Due to the fact Geriatrics is a broad specialty, it requires Doctors to maintain a generalist approach. In light of this, a Doctor that's worked in a General Medicine setting would be applicable for a Geriatrics role and particularly if you've had exposure in things like Falls, Neurology, Parkinson's or Stroke. Any of the elderly care related specialisms would be applicable.
Of course, if you do come from one of the few countries that have geriatrics or care of the elderly recognised as its own individual specialism then obviously that's going to put you in great stead. Additionally, if you’ve worked in a Hospital where you have dealt with lots of elderly patients but not specifically in ‘Care of the Elderly’, you would also be a suitable applicant.
1.Great Introduction and Broad Exposure to NHS - Care of the Elderly Medicine is very broad in terms of the differential patients you will treat. You will be working with patients with a variety of medical issues and thus you will be working with all of the bodies internal/external systems. Considering this, working as a Geriatrician within the NHS will give you a great exposure to a variety of different medical specialties
2. Rewarding – One of the most common things we hear from Geriatricians is that their work is extremely rewarding. To be able to find what’s wrong with an older person when they become confused or start presenting symptoms of delirium, is something that many Doctors find challenging and thus immensely rewarding.
3. Team Work - Geriatricians work in a multidisciplinary team. They work with a variety of other Doctors and Healthcare workers such as nurses, occupational therapists, social workers – it’s a real team approach.
4. Acute/General Med on-calls – If you’re working as a Geriatrician within the NHS, you will normally partake in Acute or General Medicine on calls. This means that you will also get the experience of working in different wards and faster paced environments. If Acute Medicine or even General Medicine is something you are aiming for, then Geriatrics is the perfect stepping stone!
5. Variety of subspecialty interests - Geriatricians can be super specialized and has the choice of picking an interest such as Eating Disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Falls and Osteoporosis. There’s also community-based Geriatrics which is the treatment of people in care homes. There’s also front door Geriatrics where you’d be based in the Emergency Department specifically dealing with Elderly patients. Geriatrics is a very varied specialty with huge expansion and subspecialising options. Many Doctors become a General Geriatrician and subspecialise afterwards.
6. Excellent Training and Teaching Opportunities - Because of the nature of the work, you'll often get far more guidance than you would from Consultants who are really busy in an ED or Acute Med type of setting. So, working in Geriatrics can be a good opportunity for junior Doctors to get good exposure to the kind of training that they need if their future plans are to apply to training or CESR of course.
7.Lots of jobs – One of the most obvious benefits of Geriatrics is that there are lots of openings and opportunities within the specialty! It is an expanding specialty, meaning that vacancies are continuous.
If you’re looking for a career in Geriatrics then please do get in touch. BDI Resourcing have several roles across the NHS at the moment, mainly from ST3+ through to Consultant level and we would love to hear from you.