Junior doctor Niksa Soltani began working as a locum psychiatrist with Medacs Healthcare last summer. She fell in love with the profession and realised that psychiatry was where she wanted to be. Read our interview to find out more about Dr Soltani’s placement and why she couldn’t have chosen a better field to specialise in.
Why were you interested in a career in psychiatry?
“When I was in medical school, I had always wanted to do orthopaedics and had therefore chosen F1 and F2 rotations that would give me experience in the field. I hadn’t considered psychiatry but after working as a locum psychiatrist through Medacs Healthcare I knew that it was the job that I wanted to do in the long-term. My initial placement at Stepping Hill Hospital was due to finish in February but I am so happy with the role that my placement has been extended until August.”
What do you think are the key benefits of working as a psychiatrist?
“One of the benefits is ongoing patient care. The care is more long term as I initially see patients on wards and then in outpatients so I find I can really get to know them. If you have a mental health problem it affects every aspect of your life and to help someone manage their condition is very rewarding for me.”
What have you learnt?
“I have learnt so much! I am now more aware of the medication used and its side effects. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, I have learnt the importance of following up with patients and my communication skills have developed too. I know this sounds cheesy but I have learnt the importance of gratitude. I see many people go through a difficult time which has made me grateful for what I have but it also makes me work harder to become a better doctor.”
How do you feel about locum work?
“Working as a locum psychiatrist has been amazing and enabled me to find a profession I love. If I hadn’t worked as a locum, I would have ended up working in a role that wasn’t quite right for me. Doing locum work wasn’t about the money; it was more about personal development and enabling me to develop my confidence and experience. My family all say that I am a happier person, now I have found my passion for psychiatry. It has been the best decision I ever made.”
What would you tell another junior doctor who was interested in a career in psychiatry?
“I would tell them to go for it. Psychiatry is one of the specialisms where you can really make a difference to someone’s life. If you’re a good listener with excellent communication skills, you are interested in pharmacology and enjoy working with people, I would recommend doing a month’s placement in psychiatry to see if it is right for you.”
Is there anything you wish you had known beforehand?
“There are a couple of things that I wish I had known before the placement. Medicine is a big part of psychiatry as mental health conditions can cause physical symptoms. I often see patients with chest pains, bowel problems and other physical health problems.
“And like many people, I had been nervous about working in a psychiatric ward as there is still a lot of stigma attached to the profession. It really isn’t as scary as I thought it would be and the majority of patients are lovely. I am very well supported and we have security procedures in place which makes the unit safer than some of the other wards I have worked on.”
What are your plans after your placement ends?
“I wish to progress my career in psychiatry and have applied to do core psychiatry training (CT1) in the North West.”
How would you rate the support you received from Medacs Healthcare?
“The support I received from Medacs Healthcare has been excellent, and my consultant Sarah has been wonderful. I applied for my DBS check late and Sarah was so supportive throughout the process. I want to thank Medacs Healthcare for helping me to find my passion in life.”
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