Programme: Medicine (MBBS), 2010 Current job: Medical Officer at Southland Hospice, Invercargill, New Zealand
Where are you now?
I'm working at a six-bed hospice in New Zealand as a Medical Officer.
How did your career path take you to New Zealand?
I spent my Foundation years in Birmingham, first in an inner-city hospital where I worked with one of Britain’s leading bariatric surgeons, then at a brand new 1200-bed hospital whose intensive care unit receives British soldiers who are critically injured abroad. They arrive via specially equipped aeroplanes within 24 hours of being injured, and it was my job to clerk them and prepare them for surgery, as well as being a member of the team that provided post-surgical intensive care. It was quite an experience and quite an honour.
At the end of my foundation year, I decided I wanted a break from the British training system as it can be quite intense at times, and that’s how I ended up in New Zealand. Palliative care has always interested me. I try to take a holistic approach to patients -- that's one of the reasons why I chose HYMS, as it too has that approach -- and this is particularly important in palliative care.
Six weeks in and I’m loving it so far. My aim is to return to the UK to continue with core medical training. Maybe I'll end up as a palliative care consultant. Only time will only tell.
Did you feel well prepared for your career?
Yes, training at HYMS has enabled me to succeed not only in my final-year exams but in my career as a doctor. Problem-based learning gave me the skills to learn for yourself and to solve problems. I also learned how to teach others, which is an essential skill in medicine.
Regular patient contact throughout the course means that we're able to apply theoretical knowledge to real patients, and it was this early patient contact that kept me motivated through a challenging degree. And my time at HYMS gave me the communication skills to really connect with and understand my patients and to be able to deal with difficult emotional situations.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about medicine?
It’s a hard career and shouldn’t be undertaken light-heartedly, but for those who are born to do it, it’s truly satisfying.
And the hard work doesn’t end when you graduate -- in fact, that’s really when it gets tough!