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Hospital doctor jobs are mainly found in the public sector, with the NHS the largest hospital doctor employer in the UK. However, there are increasing opportunities for people working as a hospital doctor to do so in the private sector, including with voluntary and charitable organisations. Hospital doctor jobs involve using medical skills and knowledge to help patients in terms of diagnosis, treatment and management of a disease. Another aspect of working as a hospital doctor will be assessing patients and referring them to other healthcare professionals, such as radiographers and physiotherapists. Hospital doctors can be found in a wide range of specialist areas, including cardiology, general medicine, general surgery and psychiatry.
Those working as a hospital doctor can expect very different duties depending on which area they enter. For example, hospital doctor jobs in surgery are very different from those in A&E. However, there are general duties that all individuals working as a hospital doctor will be expected to be involved with, including:
- Provide general care to patients in outpatient clinics and hospital wards
- Examine patients and diagnose their medical conditions
- Conducting specialist procedures, such as operations
- Making notes and keeping careful records of patient information, etc
Additional tasks for hospital doctors can feature for more senior positions, including the need to plan workloads and staffing departments, as well as teaching and supervising junior doctors and medical students.
Hospital doctor employers expect all candidates to be fully qualified before applying for this role. Therefore, those working as a hospital doctor must have a degree in medicine that is recognised by the General Medical Council. In addition to a medical degree, those wishing to work as a hospital doctor must also complete a two-year general training programme as well as specialist training in a chosen area. This two-year course will include training and work placements in a variety of medical settings and specialities.
Medical degrees generally take five to six years to finish, whilst candidates already possessing a degree in a science-related subject may apply for an accelerated four-year graduate entry medicine course. In terms of personal qualities, hospital doctor employers look for the following:
- A commitment to caring for others
- Be emotionally strong, resourceful and hard working
- Able to multitask and work under pressure
- Good communication skills and ability to show empathy with patients
- Problem solving skills and ability to plan ahead and anticipate possible outcomes
Hospital doctor jobs have good career prospects in terms of long-term stability and opportunities for professional and career development. Once fully trained and working as a hospital doctor, some individuals move onto becoming a consultant, which will involve training and supervising more junior doctors on your team.
Managerial opportunities for consultants include being a clinical lead, clinical director of a department and medical director. Progression for those working as a hospital doctor involves a system of study and assessment. In terms of salary, junior hospital doctor jobs offer starting salaries around £27,000 – £32,000, with this rising to between £40,000 – £74,000 for specialist doctors. Finally, consultants can expect to earn a starting salary of around £80,000, with this rising to anything up to £107,000 depending on length of service.
There are of course various pros and cons to working as a hospital doctor. Cons to hospital doctor jobs can include the need to work long hours, as well as the need to work shifts, including nights and weekends and the possibility of being on-call during certain times. Pressure and emotional strain are also large parts of hospital doctor jobs, as is dealing with individuals who may be very sick and in a lot of pain. Always being ‘on the job’ and having to continuously learn new things surrounding new medicines and treatment can also be daunting for some.
The pros of working as a hospital doctor obviously include the huge personal rewards you will get from helping many different people every day. Hospital doctors play a vital role in a person’s treatment, and therefore the position comes with a lot of responsibility and social standing. Professionally, hospital doctor employers offer good salaries and, in most cases, excellent long-term job stability and benefits, including a strong pension. With many opportunities for professional development, hospital doctor jobs enable you to choose and move onto specialist areas in which you can focus.