Dr Chris Karayiannis is a consultant geriatrician working in Melbourne. Originally from New Zealand, he was drawn to Australia in his resident year by its reputation for good working conditions, and has loved it ever since. Chris liked pretty much every specialty he encountered, but it was the diagnostic challenge that solidified his interest in geriatrics. Those with strong communication skills and who enjoy working with allied health should also consider this field.

With the growing popularity of geriatrics, we discuss how to acquire experience and research in the field early on. Chris explains why a growing proportion of prospective doctors are not getting accepted on their first application. Nevertheless, for those accepted into the profession, a rewarding and varied lifestyle awaits. Geriatricians seem to be “generalists that are specialists”, dealing with each system as well as the patient as a whole. Chris walks us through his typical day, including how he finds time to work on his PhD! He also offers insight into the rapidly expanding subspecialties our ageing population has birthed.

Yet Chris’ work goes beyond preventing falls and managing polypharmacy. Elderly patients have multiple, complex, biopsychosocial needs, which explains why prolonged social interactions with patients, families and treating teams are common. Chris finds it rewarding making a difference to a concerned family by crafting a personalised plan for each patient. However, hospital politics dictating how long patients can stay on the ward for can impede this work.

As always, our interviewee suggests where he sees the field in five years’ time, such as how the role of hospital in the home will change, and what we can do as interns to make our first year of work run as smoothly as possible.

If you have any other questions you’d like us to ask Dr Chris Karayiannis, fill out the form below or shoot us a message!

Pathways into Geriatrics

Medical School → Internship → HMO → Basic Physicians Training (3 years full-time equivalent) → Advance Physicians Training in Geriatric Medicine (3 years full-time equivalent)

Source: Royal Australian College of Physicians

Salary

Unfortunately, no data was available regarding the salary of Geriatric consultants.

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TMC027: Geriatrics with Dr Chris Karayiannis
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