Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature Round Table

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

Rapid Response:

Re: How can the NHS become a millennial friendly employer?

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.

References

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

19 March 2018
Aurélien M Guéroult
5th Year Medical Student
University of Cambridge
Corpus Christi College Cambridge CB2 1RH