The Open UniversitySkip to content

The making of careers, the making of a discipline: luck and chance in migrant careers in geriatric medicine

Bornat, Joanna; Henry, Leroi and Raghuram, Parvati (2011). The making of careers, the making of a discipline: luck and chance in migrant careers in geriatric medicine. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78(3) pp. 342–350.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Version of Record)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The geriatric specialty, unpopular among most UK born and trained medical graduates, provided an opportunity for career development and achievement for those doctors whose training had been non-standard for a variety of reasons. Migrant doctors who have played a substantive role in the UK National Health Service since its inception made an important contribution to the building of that specialty, at the same time building their own careers. This paper draws on oral history interviews with the UK trained pioneers of geriatric medicine and with South Asian overseas trained doctors who entered the geriatric specialty in the middle decades of the twentieth century. It critically reviews the literature of skilled migration, specifically in terms of ‘brain drain’ and ‘push–pull’, focusing on historical and socio-cognitive communities and emphasizes the contribution of individual narratives of career development in the lives of migrants. Focusing on the use of luck and chance in accounts it suggests that although such terms are indicative of chance upon opportunity, they also suggest a role for agency in career development in contexts which were not auspicious. The outcome, for those interviewed, was regarded positively in career terms, but also had a significant part to play in the development of the career of the specialty of geriatric medicine and in the lives of the marginalized people for whom they developed a service.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 Elsevier Inc.
ISSN: 0001-8791
Extra Information: Special issue on Migration: Vocational Perspectives on a Complex and Diverse Transition
Keywords: careers; luck and chance; medicine; geriatrics; migrants; oral history
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 28808
Depositing User: Joanna Bornat
Date Deposited: 25 May 2011 15:49
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 11:11
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU