1) Why did you decide to study medicine?
I always assumed that I would grow up to be a doctor when I was younger, because medicine was such an integral part of my family life. Strangely, I had a period of rebellion against this notion and spent a few months before starting my A-Levels saying that I wanted to be a corporate lawyer. Needless to say, I came to my senses soon enough and decided to do medicine. The more I learn of it, the more fascinated I become.
2) Can you share some things that you wish that someone had told you before you applied to study medicine?
I wish people had told me to make the most of the first couple of years of medical school and do other things. There was a lot of hype surrounding lectures and passing exams and how difficult everything was, that a lot of people didn’t stop to think of all the other activities they could get involved with. It feels like a lot of wasted time and opportunity retrospectively. Make time for friends and family and extracurricular activities, just remember to maintain an effective balance.
3) What profession would you be in if you weren’t in medicine?
If not medicine, then I think something writing-related; either an author or a journalist. But medicine is unique in that I can still realise these ambitions alongside becoming a doctor, which is brilliant.
4) What is your biggest motivation?
My motivation is to constantly try and improve myself – whether that is in my personal life or as a medical professional. Achieving my full potential is important to me, because I want to be able to look back at these formative years of my life and say that I have made a difference, and really lived.
5) What are you most interested in so far and why?
I really enjoy General Medicine, mostly because there is so much to it (although near exam times this is a significant disadvantage) and it is constantly evolving. I also like cardiology as I find the heart very intriguing; not to mention that interpreting an ECG correctly is a really great feeling.
6) What has been your most difficult module so far and why?
Although I love children, I found my paediatrics rotation to be the most challenging so far. It was difficult to see them unhappy and unwell, although admittedly, it felt good to know that you are helping them get better. Earning the trust of the child you are treating is vital, and not always easy. I also found the theory of paediatrics tough, because it is a vast amount of information to take in over such a small amount of time, with a lot of it, like neonatology, being completely unfamiliar.
7) What is the most memorable positive moment in your medical studies so far?
Any moment that a patient tells me that they appreciate what I am doing for them is a positive one in my book. Being kind goes a long way – patients do appreciate the small things that go along with their medical care.
8 ) What is the worst horror story in your medical studies to date?
I was clerking in a young patient with severe learning disabilities on the children’s assessment unit when she started to have a seizure. It was terrifying watching her jerk violently, and she started to cyanose as well – her whole face was blue! Initially, I was paralysed with a sort of indecision as to whether to hold her down along with her family or get some help, but I quickly ran for help after that brief moment. It was an unsettling feeling of helplessness and fear, and it didn’t help that the patient’s mother had a fainting spell immediately after!
9) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
a) the wishful thinking version
Being the sort of consultant that people recommend to others, because of clinical expertise and because they like me! Preferably with some experience having worked in the developing world, and happily married with children.
b) the perhaps slightly more realistic version
Trying hard to make my mark in the medical profession in some small way, and just trying to become better as time goes on. I also want to be involved with medical education and teaching. And yes, I’ll keep happily married with children in this bit too.
10) Can you share some tips/advice for others
a) wanting to study medicine
The best advice that I can give is – be prepared to work hard, but play hard as well. Yes it will be a challenge and it will be difficult at times, but it is also rewarding and a lot of fun from day one. The patients are often the best part, and you will meet some absolutely amazing people with remarkable stories that might change the way you live your life.
b) already studying medicine?
Keep letting medicine inspire you, even on those days when it feels like it’s all too much. It’ll all be worth it in the end.