Start With Why

Dr Sean Ninan is a registrar in Geriatric and General (Internal) Medicine in the Yorkshire Deanery. He tweets at @sean9n and @gerisreg shutterstock_114405178

Here Sean writes on his blogs, Senior Moments, about why he has chosen to specialise in geriatric medicine, and how he wants to inspire junior doctors as they begin their rotation in his department.

Start With Why.

Welcome to the older people’s ward. My name is Dr Sean Ninan.

I hope you enjoy your time on the ward. You will certainly learn lots. By the end of your time here you will see patients with classic geriatric syndromes, sepsis, malignancy, acute kidney injury, neurological disorders and much more. We will teach you to become very good at assessing patients with delirium, falls, blackouts, immobility, Parkinson’s disease, dementia as well as general medicine topics like sepsis, acute kidney injury and acute coronary syndromes. You will learn what frailty really means and what it means to perform comprehensive geriatric assessment. I expect you to learn about these topics because you will be looking after patients with these problems, but wherever possible, we will try to tailor learning to your chosen career, whether that is general medicine or general practice. If you are going to be a surgeon, obstetrician or something else, then bear with us! It is still important that you learn about geriatric medicine in order to provide a good quality of service, and hopefully you will still enjoy it, and take some of what you have learned into your future career. I also hope that we can convince some of you along the way to join us in geriatric medicine in the future.

I am a geriatrician because I love general medicine and I care for older people. I believe that older people get a raw deal in many parts of the health service and sometimes get suboptimal care if looked after by people who aren’t trained to deal with their complex needs. Older people include some of the most vulnerable members of society. It is important, that we as health professionals stand up for them and care for them. You may see a frail, older person in a hospital nightgown. Take a step back and try to remember that these people are parents, grandparents, husband, wives, brothers and sisters, that many of them have lived rich lives and that they deserve our care and respect, that they are our future selves. When you do your ward rounds, when you take blood or insert cannulas, take the opportunity to talk to them about their lives, their hobbies, their previous jobs, their families. Many of them will enjoy talking to you and you will get a fuller picture of the person behind their illness.

I care about excellence. I believe in delivering high quality care because patients deserve it and because I like to do things properly. If you are casual, or take shortcuts, we won’t get on, so please don’t. It reflects on me and the rest of the team. If you do your best, and learn about some of the things that I have just mentioned, you will enjoy your job more and feel proud of your work. I will be proud of you, as will the rest of the team.

I know that being a junior doctor is hard. I know that at times it can feel thankless. But it can be very rewarding, and on this ward we recognise those who go the extra mile. On the other hand, if you are struggling with anything at work, or if you observe things at work that concern you, then come and see me. I want to know.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your time here.”

Read the full article on the Senior Moment blog here.

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