SPECIALTY REPRESENTATION

"Representation breeds inspiration" - Black Medical Society 

Showcasing black registrars and consultants in the UK

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Graduated from University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Works in North West England

Why Neurosurgery?

"First time it crossed my mind was as a 13-year-old, I was extremely fascinated by my teacher’s explanation of the workings of the brain and the spinal cord. I started reading about neurosurgeons and even kept a few pictures on my bedroom wall. In my second year of medical school, my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was a really tough period for my family at the time, and I have no doubt the experiences further intensified the zeal to become a neurosurgeon. He had surgery, and thankfully is doing very well. Fortunately, I have learnt to draw from the memories of that bleak spell when interacting with my patients. It is a specialty that requires a lot of skill and expertise, and I love the challenge."

Any advice for the next generation?

"Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead" Never run from challenges, just look at them as hurdles that need to be overcome.

Consultant in Neurosurgery

Mr Andrew F. Alalade

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Graduated from College of Medicine of Malawi

Works in London & KSS 

Why Obstetrics and Gynaecology?

Growing up in Southern Africa, pregnancy and childbirth was associated with a high risk of morbidity and mortality making it an anxious time in a woman's life when it should be one of the happiest. Someone close to me was affected by this. It is because of this I became passionate about women's health. Obstetrics and Gynaecology is a unique speciality that offers a mixture of medicine, surgery and radiology. I am able to use my skills in medicine, surgery and ultrasound to help guide the newly pregnant woman from her positive pregnancy test up to the safe delivery of her baby. I consider it to be an honour and privilege to help bring a healthy new life into this world while ensuring the mother is safely cared for with kindness and compassion.

Any advice for the next generation?

I would encourage everyone to attend junior doctors and medical student careers day organised by the Royal College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists(RCOG). There are many consultants and trainees in O&G that are ready to offer advice and support. Speak to them.

Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology 

Ms Chimwemwe Kalumbi-Mkambula

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Graduated from University College London

Works in London & KSS

Why Obstetrics and Gynaecology?

In many ways O&G is in my blood as I have family member who are in the speciality but I really made my decision at medical school after a brilliant placement at Barnet General Hospital. I like the fast pace nature of the speciality. Everyday is slightly different, its the perfect mix of medicine and surgery and you working in clinics, on call, in theatres and in the labour ward. There is the opportunity to gain extra competencies e.g. ultrasound skills or how to operate in the outpatient setting. I love working with people, and O&G is very team based- involving a large MDT and inter professional working is paramount as you work closely with midwives, nurses, sonographers, and theatre staff. Although it’s highly pressured, and if the outcomes are bad they are devastating, most of the time you are part of a magical experience for a family. I think it’s a real privilege to bring babies safely into this world.

Any advice for the next generation?

Medical school is tough, you are learning so much in a short space of time and there is a lot of pressure with exams and competition with your colleagues. My advice is focus on yourself and your own knowledge and skill. Stay connected to your fellow student and work together in study groups but don’t be disheartened if people know ‘more’ than you. While are medical school try and find something outside of medicine that you really like and keep that up as much as possible, it’s important to have an identity outside of medicine. Being a junior doctor is when you learn how to be a safe and effective clinician, all the theory is really put into practice. Find seniors that you relate to, and whose clinical style you respect. Organisation is the key to being a successful junior doctor, as is being a good team player. Pick foundation jobs that give you a broad range of experience, and leaving London to do this is the best thing that happened to me as I focused on building my clinical skills, and worried about the academic/ research side later in my training. It also helped that living in hospital accommodation in F1 was so much fun, and I am still very close to that group of people 11 years later. Lastly, remember that just because you finished medical school doesn’t mean you have to be a doctor. There’s a whole world out there and jobs you would be great at with the skills you have acquired as a medical student. It’s easier to leave medicine the earlier you’re in it so if you have doubts, explore them with organisations and people you trust.

Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dr Lizzie Egbase

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Graduated from University of Southampton

Works in West Midlands (being a Military Doctor involves regularly moving locations)

Why General Practice and Public Health?

"I love the interaction between doctor and patients and the relationships we form as family doctors."

Any advice for the next generation?

Take time to think about exactly what you love about Medicine and what your strengths are, this will help when choosing a speciality. Through the process you will learn and change a lot, when you feel ready help someone coming behind you - telling your story is often all they need to silence the imposter within.

General Practitioner and Public Health Expert

Dr Mina Endeley

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Graduated from University of Aberdeen 

Works in Scotland 

 

Why General Practice? 

Although I thoroughly enjoy hospital medicine, I knew that a better work-life balance than a lot of hospital medicine could offer was essential for me. I also enjoy the challenge of assessing and managing the undifferentiated patient. Furthermore, I like the prospect of being a GP with a specialist interest which enables being a generalised physician and having an area of expertise.

Any advice for the next generation? 

Work hard. Think about your personality, what you enjoy, what you don't enjoy and what you want overall in the future to help you decide on a specialty. Really research and observe the jobs and tasks of the registrars and consultants in different specialties to help decide on a specialty.

Registrar in General Practice

Dr Onyinyechukwu Okenwa

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Graduated from Leicester University 

Works in Trent

Why Histopathology?

My motivation for pursuing Histopathology was the interest in understanding the fundamentals of disease processes. When approximately 70% of all diagnoses require pathologists, they say Histopathology is the speciality of doctors for doctors. The work and pace is varied and so I am never bored. The field is forever advancing and so there is a drive to keep up with the knowledge. The specialty has a visible presence in medical school curriculums and as someone that loves teaching, it is an added bonus.

As a run through programme, it is great to know where you are for the duration of your training. This helps to develop and explore your life and interests outside of medicine and was incredibly important to me.

There is no patient contact, ward work or out of hours work and that was important to me in selecting my future career. That doesn’t mean the job is not demanding or tough; you will find that a lot of work requires you to be self-directed and taking the initiative. Even without the patient contact, your role plays an important part in the diagnosis, management and prognosis of patients. If you’re looking for a career that is variable, challenging and exciting while having control over your life outside of medicine (and no DREs ever!) consider a career in Histopathology.

 

Any advice for the next generation?

First and foremost, you do not need to have all the answers and plans now. There is no race to the end. Take time. Take time for yourself. Always.

Your ideas of what you might want to do may change and that’s okay. They may never change, and that’s also okay. Keep an open mind throughout training.

People will tell you when it is the best time to take a break, but the best time to take a break is when you are ready to take one.

With each specialty you are exposed to, write down or take a mental note of the things you enjoyed about it, the things you enjoyed least and what it would mean to you if you pursued that specialty. When deciding the role in that specialty, look to what the consultant is doing or a senior registrar. Try not to get bogged down with point chasing for applications, but do take a genuine interest in pursuing opportunities that come your way. Take the initiative to seek out those opportunities.

Always consider if location or specialty is more important to you. Sometimes you’ll have to choose. The third choice goes back to: don’t be afraid to take time out. And don’t be afraid to end something that is not working out for you. It is okay to change your mind and so it is okay to change your specialty.

Lastly, be kind to yourself and to others. This is a difficult career; it is okay to ask for help. Good luck and have fun.

Registrar in Histopathology

Dr Angeli Arthur 

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Graduated from St. Bartholomew’s and the Royal London

Works in London & KSS

Why Acute Medicine? 

I liked most of the specialties I had experienced in foundation and core training, I enjoy the acute aspect of medicine, hopefully seeing patients improve after an intervention, and I enjoy practical procedures. Acute medicine allows me to regularly experience all of the above and to interact with multiple other specialties, which keeps the job varied and interesting.

Any advice for the next generation?

Never be afraid to ask for help but always have a plan or an idea of how you would like to approach the situation - one day it will be you expected to provide the answers so it’s never too early to practise that skill.

Registrar in Acute Medicine

Dr Julian Duku

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Graduated from University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

Works in London & KSS

Why Dermatology?

Did an elective during my internship (FY2 in new money) in Dermatology. My colleagues were fun and supportive and the specialty was interesting. Lots of hard core medicine without too many late nights.

Any advice for the next generation?

1. Choose a specialty that you enjoy and keeps you interested - you will be committing to it for the rest of your career. That’s what electives and taster weeks are for.

2. Your colleagues can make or break a job - so aim to be a good one by being one who communicates with their team well, is conscientious and hard working.

3. In medicine, there’s no such thing as work-life balance, so don’t wear your self out trying to achieve it. However, your family and key relationships come first so choose moments with them often and wisely.

Consultant in Dermatology

Dr Marisa Taylor

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Graduated from St George’s University London

Works in Severn

Why General Surgery? 

I actually started post graduate medicine wanting to do paediatrics. During one of my rotations I met Prof Zacharias of EUPSA and he took me with him to theatres. There’s a moment when you step over the threshold of the theatre doors and start to focus on the patient in front of you, when your breathing calms and you begin that moment of intense focus, summoning up your own courage and readying your hands. That moment is entirely consuming, and there is no feeling like it. Surgery is where art and science meet.

I fell in love with trauma early on and having done plastics, burns, vascular and orthopaedics, I can honestly say that general surgery is the most stimulating speciality. From advocating for my patients in Breast oncology MDT, discussing Crohn’s management with a young patient in IBD clinic or starting a laparotomy in trauma theatres the variability of the day to day job is incredible.

Any advice for the next generation?

You do not realise the world is your oyster! To my medical students I always say go beyond the requirements! Set a task a month and complete it, whether it’s to attend a conference, help an F1 with their audit or be an active part of a society. On rotations stay late sometimes, that’s where the magic happens, I did part of an open appendix as a third year student because I was in the right place at the right time! Opened up a whole world for me. It’s absolutely ok to not know what you want to do, but you should make sure you get the maximum experience in everything and see what makes you tick! To junior colleagues the first few months of F1 is about finding your feet, if you have a career in mind download the personal specs and portfolio guidance to start working out what you need to achieve. Find yourselves good mentors and a good group of friends to push yourselves through!

Registrar in General Surgery

Dr Michael Okocha

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Graduated from Univerisity of Birmingham

Works in Peninsula

 

Why Trauma and Orthopaedics?

I always had a passion for coming into contact with a number of patients, with a relatively quick turnover and seeing rapid improvements in their conditions. The ability to communicate with patients, their families, diagnose the pathology quickly and give them treatment with a good follow up is pronounced in orthopaedics. My love for manual work and social interaction is suited to such a speciality.

Any advice for the next generation?

It is important to take beneficial lessons from every experience you come across in life. Be it an interaction that was unpleasant or a rotation that wasn't enjoyed, there is always something that you can add to your own personal development. Such reflection and awareness is key to resilience in this career.

Registrar in Trauma & Orthopaedics

Dr Olusegun Ayeko

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