January 6, 2020, by Jackie Thompson
Talking to the right people is a career ‘must do’
By Joel Kaziro, medicine graduate
Having been a teacher for the last five years, I walked into Medical School as a mature student. I figured that at the end of my four-year stint, I’d be a doctor. What I failed to realise was ‘being a doctor’ was not enough; they come in many different shapes and sizes and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.
What type of doctor?
Using my previous career, I knew I was going to be involved in medical education, but that did nothing in terms of determining the type of doctor I was going to be. A surgeon? A GP? A hospital doctor perhaps?
Medical School is a relentless set of hurdles to jump. Placement combined with several hundred learning objectives mixed in with practical assessments, research and essays means that planning for a career seems presumptuous; you may not have one if you can’t run the gauntlet.
It was during talks organised by the Careers team, as well as placements during my course that I gave real credence to becoming a GP or a physician (hospital doctor). Now I think I shall aspire to combine my love for education as well as medicine to become a teaching doctor, either a GP or a hospital doctor.
Talk to the right people
When you have a non-traditional, off-the-beaten-track career path aspiration, you need to talk to the people. In light of such a pursuit, I met with the doctors who were already in my field: Dr Jon Frain (Director of Clinical Skills), Dr Gail Allsopp (GP, Associate Professor of Primary Care and Lead for Primary Care Careers) and Rachel Curley (Careers Consultant, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences).
Support and advice offered
I met with Jon at the start of Medical School. He advised that I concentrate on my degree. Medicine has several hurdles to jump. That would be my best piece of advice: concentrate on passing your degree but have an eye on the future. Ten minutes per week working on your CV and aspirations is more than enough time cumulatively.
I met with Gail at the end of my degree. After the final assessments had been passed, there was time to pause and consider the future. She had been both a surgeon, GP and was now an educator, so offered a wealth of experience.
I met with Rachel Curley, Careers Consultant from the Careers and Employability Service, several times during my degree. She pointed me in the direction of Gail, helped me write personal statements (and get interviews to jobs), helped tailor my CV and outlined what medical employers wanted. Without this service, I’d be wandering in the dark.
Now I’m a qualified doctor about to start in August with aspirations to blend skills from my previous career as a teacher and become a doctor who educates.
My advice to you
I hope my story is helpful. There are just two principles:
1. Meet people that are doing what you want to do
2. Meet people that know how to get you there
You’ll have to find the former; the Careers and Employability Service are the latter.