In her fourth year, Dr Janet Macmillan took an emergency psychiatry clinical placement to test how she could cope with the specialism, many years later she is still involved, even after retirement!
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Your time at the University
My father was an Edinburgh medical graduate, so I was only 40 years behind him. There was a course psychology and sociology in relation to medicine; where I made some lifelong friends and possibly became interested in psychiatry for the first time. A favourite memory is playing lacrosse in hailstorms and being part of the British universities lacrosse championships. I was a bad student, finding far too many other things to do, so resits loomed large until clinical years where I was perhaps a bit more interested and probably a bit more lucky.
I used the clinical placement in fourth year to go to London on the basis that an emergency psychiatric clinic was likely to be scary and if I could manage that then I could be a psychiatrist.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
I used the clinical placement in fourth year to go to London on the basis that an emergency psychiatric clinic was likely to be scary and if I could manage that then I could be a psychiatrist. I joined Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow as an SHO, working for Eve Johnstone, David Cunningham Owens and Tim Crow. They were wonderful years; with much esprit de corps. We rigged the on call rota so one of the group was nearly always around to snaffle those with major illness.
A great achievement was being a clinical scientist with the MRC, working with young folk in their first psychotic illness for three years. Another was getting management to rename the junior’s office, which was a not very well converted loo with no windows on the acute ward, as
the glory hole.
Remarkably I was at Northwick Park for 8 years which of course meant that I saw the longer term outcome. The west midlands became home, working initially as a senior lecture with clinical work in Ladywood, Aston, and Handsworth where the notice on the ward door
please leave your weapons with the charge nurse was real. Later I worked in North Staffordshire in the last Victorian institution to close, as a medical director in Walsall, and then in South Staffordshire. I retired 4 years ago, but I am struggling to completely quit.
We are, after all, only passing through, so enjoy it!