How can the NHS become a millennial friendly employer?BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1095 (Published 09 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1095
All rapid responses
I think it is interesting that one of the key questions asked in this round table was what can consultants do to help millennials.
In my experience, most consultants have been incredibly supportive during my various placements. Those I have enjoyed most have been due to the efforts of senior doctors to make me part of the team: by asking me to take a history or take bloods or come to theatres with them. But even basic things like saying hello, or talking for four seconds between patients make the whole difference. It’s striking how important the little things are when you attend a ward round with someone who, after being introduced does not say a single word to you for the next four hours. In those situations you don’t even feel able to ask a question. I understand that some rounds and clinics are very busy, but the consultants I would want as mentors explain the situation and never make me feel like a nuisance.
Another reason for low morale and low retention that was not mentioned in the article is the outcome of the junior doctors’ strike. Despite the nationwide protest and lengthy negotiations, the new contract has been imposed. At the time there was a lot of hope in the campaign, hope that junior doctors were empowered to make decisions for their future, which was all eventually quashed. This begs the question can the NHS be modified in any way by those who will work for it during the next fifty years? Or is it an immovable and inert institution that bends only to the will of the Secretary of State? The latter will not attract and retain millennials.
In this respect, consultants can also support us. They have the most influential voices in the NHS and the changes they have the potential to bring about will affect those currently in training. Similarly, many consultants supported the strikes vocally and by covering shifts. This kind of support is laudable and exactly what juniors need.
Finally, I agree with Dr Manek that ‘it doesn’t all come down to how other people should behave towards you’ (1). It is not sufficient for millennials to remain passive and expect senior colleagues to go out of their way to ‘befriend’ and support them. I would say that most consultants are already very supportive of millennials and working together we can make the NHS attract and retain the youngest members of its workforce.
1. Iacobucci G. How can the NHS become a millennial friendly employer? BMJ [Internet]. 2018;360. Available from: http://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k1095
Competing interests: No competing interests
I read with great interest this roundtable platform focused on enthusing younger doctors in the NHS and wanted to offer my perspective as a millennial (albeit towards the latter part of the cut off).
Whilst millennials are often perceived as work shy I would argue the opposite. Having spent time at medical school fascinated by pathology and presentation I immediately saw a mismatch between what was taught and the reality of day to day practice. Patients are admitted and treated by protocols. Any alternative thought is met by ‘just follow the protocol’. In this regard every chest pain is query ACS, every headache is CT/ LP, every collapse is query stroke and every hypoxia is query PE. After a while I wondered whether those years of learning complexity was actually relevant. As a generation that have grown up with technology we have been fortunate to learn anytime anywhere and with that learn different disciplines, not just medicine, but management, education, science, arts and so on. This pace of learning has meant millennials feel intellectually constrained in a protocol driven environment where often we are not learning or allowed to think.
The NHS needs to recognise that younger doctors are highly knowledgeable and skilled in many disciplines and placing them in an environment that hinders their capabilities will force them to look elsewhere.
Dr Neel Sharma
Competing interests: TASME Awards Lead, AMEE Postgraduate Committee Member