SAS Doctors Event Recap – Kate Bunyan

SAS Doctors Event Recap – Kate Bunyan

We recently sat down with Kate Bunyan, Miad’s medical health director, who facilitated SAS grade doctors’ event for Barts Health. After some years in emergency medicine, intensive care, and experience as medical director for Carnival UK, Kate decided to leave the private sector and return to the NHS.

She re-joined as a SAS grade doctor and eventually developed that role into a clinical director position. We caught up with her to discuss the importance of having confidence in your role as a SAS grade doctor, as well as the biggest roadblocks and how to work past them.

You can also watch a small clip of our talk with Kate below:

For SAS grade doctors joining this webinar, what do you hope they walk away with?

“I’m hoping that the people that come to our webinar will walk away inspired to know that they can do anything. The staff and associate specialist grade is often one that people think is for some reason a bit second rate. That aspiring to be a consultant is where every doctor should be. And that if you didn’t make it to a consultant, that you didn’t make it. As opposed to you choosing to take your career in a different direction.

And I hope people just come away thinking that they’ve made positive life choices about their career destination, whether they recognized it before or not, but that they are living the best version of themselves, or they now feel able to go forward and work out what the best version of themselves at work and in the rest of their life means.

Because being a doctor is a 24/7 occupation and it’s all-consuming. We are doctors at our core, but we all go on to do different things, in different specialities, in different walks of life and the system needs all of us. The CCT, the qualification that makes you a consultant, doesn’t necessarily prepare you for all those roles or provide you with all the skills you need to go and provide the care that people need.

SAS doctors need to realise they can be anything they want; you just need to go and grab it.”

What would you say is the biggest roadblock for SAS doctors? What is stopping them from reaching their full potential?

“Themselves. The biggest blocker for anybody, but particularly I find it in doctors, is imposter syndrome and getting out of their own way.

I think we have created a system, particularly in the UK around what it means to be a senior doctor, what that looks like, what that value holds in society and all the rest of it, which means if we’re not in that model consultant position, we don’t deserve a seat at the senior table. I think that we need to change those attitudes.

We need to challenge that opinion. And we have to have the confidence in ourselves to know that we do have the skills to bring forward in that space. And so much of that is around leadership and management. From a medical knowledge standpoint, consultants are at the top of their medical game the day they finished their training. A lot of SAS doctors are equally talented in their clinical as a consultant. Ask yourself; what happens when you start managing my team, my system, my patients, the workload, and the processes that go around that. And there is nothing about medical training that makes you perfectly fit for that task.

There is no reason why SAS doctors can’t also learn to be good at those tasks. And just because you’re a doctor, doesn’t make you a great manager or indeed a great leader. So it’s about tapping into those other skills, recognizing that you don’t need a badge that says you’re a consultant to go on and do those.”

In response to the new SAS contract reform, our expert educators at Miad Healthcare have mapped training and development courses against the Generic Capabilities Framework for the Specialist Grade. We have almost 30 courses that are closely linked to the specialist grade competencies. Here is a small selection of some of the development opportunities we offer: