Life as a New Consultant Ophthalmologist

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A quick synopsis about me. I undertook my 7 year Ophthalmology training in the UK followed by subspecialty fellowships and it is now time to find a consultant job to feel settled and put into practice everything I have learnt.

I will share my journey from here on, sharing what others don’t tell you, covering topics such as the application, interview, and experiences of the job. Opinions & experiences are my own.


Location unknown – choosing where to work

The in-between – benefits of doing a locum post

LOCATION UNKNOWN – Choosing where to work

Register for NHS jobs, trac jobs, BMJ jobs. Set up email alerts for the specialty and sub specialty. Consider not picking a location so you can get an overview of how many jobs are coming up and what variations in job plans are out there. You can read the job description, person specification and think about whether you have done enough to apply (you probably have)!

When choosing a location to live and where to work, I contemplated the following:

  • Career aims – I want to work in a medium sized tertiary university Trust, same site as an ED and other medical specialties. I want to work on one site and be able to lead a service with an engaging management team promoting service improvement.
  • Is the job plan what you want? – enough theatre, admin/SPA, not involving
  • People – can I relate to colleagues/patients, what is the pace of life I want?
  • Trust – forward thinking Trust, department prizes, passion to improve, engaging management. Will want to represent them.
  • Future prospects – job plan open to change/incorporate future responsibilities. Probably something I need to think about more.
  • Life, hobbies – major city/coast vs inland/family benefits, close to airports & good train links, nice restaurants and shops. Somewhere I can get a big house for not much money. Need stuff to do outside of work, I could be outdoorsy..
  • Travel/commuting to work time & method – want a mega car, don’t want to use public transport and would want a short commute to work.

Other things you may need to consider include education and care for your children, cost of living, number of consultant colleagues in the department, if the department will require you to do extra work due to waiting lists etc, part time vs full time, will you want to have trainees/fellows, additional roles you may want to do (on call, supervision, teaching), private practice…

Was there any thing else you thought about?

#ophthalmology #NHSconsultant #ophthalmology training #ophthalmology interviews

THE INBETWEEN – Benefits of doing a locum consultant post

  • Doing a locum post is a great insight into how the department works, colleagues and stakeholders as well as the rest of the hospital as an interim stage before embarking on a substantive post
  • It will be an great insight into how your clinical and surgical work will be and what your working day to day life would be like.
  • If you move to a new area you can experience what your home life would be like, consider distances to shops, hobbies, cost of homes, availability of amenities and travel connections.
  • The amount of leadership and management experience as a locum can vary. I would recommend you get involved in as much service development that you can. This shows to future employers that you are proactive, bring new ideas, troubleshoot and reactive. As long as you have good results to demonstrate.
  • Being finally responsible for a service means you can implement the best aspects of what you have learnt from departments you worked in during your fellowship/training.
  • Time to network, speaking to different team members and find out the needs and wants of the department.
  • You can find out how receptive/progressive the team is to change/what people are really like on a consultant and management level. You will also realise the natural rotation of people in leadership roles and different priorities and politics people bring.
  • There is a huge difference between being a trainee/fellow and becoming a consultant. Clinical knowledge and skill is presumed, you are now an advocate for the service and rest of the consultant body.
  • Different people will have different thoughts about their readiness to become a consultant. Now is a good time to build your credibility, confidence and network of supporters.
  • More interest in national documents and implementing these
  • It is a great period of time to think, is this where and what you want?
  • The advantage for future substantive posts is great, you can highlight you can work at a consultant level and promote the results of changes you have implemented. You can say one reason you are suited to the role is that you have already done it…

Was there any thing else you thought about?

#ophthalmology #NHSconsultant #ophthalmology training #ophthalmology interviews

Next topic – Resources I found that helped with getting a consultant job

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