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Another 25 per cent said it was neither good nor poor and 18 per cent did not express an opinion.The Department for Work and Pensions is currently investigating ways of improving the support offered by GPs.I was surprised to find that there wasn't anything - evidence of how little work had previously been undertaken in this field and so I decided to investigate the setting up of an AGCAS group.I had already heard a few names bandied about of AGCAS members already working in medicine, so made approaches to all of them, put in a bid to AGCAS and MCAN, the Medical Careers Advisers Network, was born.The Medical Schools, on the other hand, have mostly been slow to realise the help and support that they can get from their own university career services and this brings us to yet another difficult issue - most medical schools have hundreds of students and most university careers services are overstretched and under resourced as it is.It will be a challenge to see how the university careers services will be able to meet increased demand from medical students for their services - and if they are not able, or willing, to meet this demand the medical schools will go elsewhere for help and there are many private agencies out there all too willing to be involved in this work.I put this question to other MCAN members in our last meeting and we all agreed that there are some differences.
Medical students, once so complacent about their prospects of getting a job, are now all too aware that getting the training job that they want will not be easy and they are forced to confront the possibility that they might not get a job at all.
Research, effective planning, making good applications, an ability to reassess options and come up with a plan B - all the stuff of career management is going to be very important in helping them make their way in their careers under the new training system.
Over the past few years there have been posts advertised for careers specialists but this has been mainly to work in the postgraduate medical sector and careers work here is, on the whole, becoming well established.
I am always grateful that the group is so supportive that asking questions - even if they are the ‘I probably should know this but I don't' kind of questions.
Last year we held a conference, sponsored by MMC, which was one of the first conferences within the medical community to look at career management, and more recently a training day looking at working with undergraduates.