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What Happens When Doctors Get Sick?

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

In our first student-hosted Medicine 360 podcast, Dr Nicola Taylor and Dr Bethan John discuss some of the things which can happen when doctors struggle with their health.

How does it feel as a medical professional to go to ask help from another medical professional? How does it feel as a medical professional to treat another medical professional? Do doctors make worse patients? Do doctors and medical students think about their own illnesses differently from non-medical professionals? How large a problem is self-diagnosis? What barriers are there to medical professionals asking for help? How dangerous to a medical professional’s career is mental illness? Or taking time off sick ? How does the GMC regulatory process work? (What should you really not do as a student?) How might medical education change to better support trainee doctors? Is the notion of (individual) resilience helpful? What of acceptance and compassion for oneself? What of being ‘good enough’?

Nicola Taylor is a consultant liaison psychiatrist at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. She is also a Senior Tutor at Bristol Medical School and so has many years’ experience of the difficulties faced by medical students in training.

Bethan John is a doctor who has written about her own experience of burnout and mental illness. She was a neurosurgery trainee for six years, and is now about to begin to train as a GP. She continues to learn about mental health and well-being and is keen to focus on this in her future GP career. She can be found @MissBethanEJohn.

The podcast is hosted by Damisi Dare, a second-year medical student at the University of Bristol with an interest in the health and well-being of doctors. We hope you enjoy listening.


**A glossary of some medical initialisms used in this podcast:**

GPST — General Practitioner Speciality Training

ARCP — Annual Review of Competence Progression

CCT — Certificate of Completion of Training

**Some support services resources that may be useful:**

Doctors’ Support Network — an independent organization that offers confidential peer support for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns. Members only, but free to join. and @DocSupportNet

BMA Counselling and peer support services — the BMA offers free and confidential 24/7 counselling and peer support services to all doctors and medical students, whether BMA members or not.

NHS Practitioner Health — a free, confidential service for doctors and dentists in England who have mental or physical health concerns and or addiction problems, in particular where this may be affecting work. and @NHSPracHealth

You Okay, Doc? — the Mental Health and Wellbeing Charity for Doctors. @youokaydoc


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