Updated: May 19, 2019
The Melanin Medics Blog Series showcasing black Medical Professionals in various Medical Specialties. Sharing their journeys, challenges and life lessons. #RepresentationMatters. This week we're featuring an Anaesthetist!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey so far
My name is Marilyn and I am an anaesthetic CT2 currently working in Lister Hospital, Stevenage. I trained at St George’s University of London, intercalated at Kings College London and graduated in 2014.
After foundation training, I took a year and half F3 exploring a career in anaesthetics, travelling and volunteering in Africa.
Why did you choose this Specialty?
Physiology always interested me at medical school, and I was draw in by the acute applied physiology that is the basis of anaesthetics.
Although many people tend to get a warped view of anaesthetists sitting around drinking coffee all day (we do some days!), it is a very varied and dynamic speciality. Anaesthetists are all over the hospital from theatres to intensive care, maternity to ED resus and even paediatrics. There are many possibilities with a career in anaesthetics depending on your interests. I have colleagues who do their 9-5 in the NHS and weekends retrieving patients from all over the world or part time with more free time to enjoy with their children. The possibilities are vast!
During your time in Medical School, did you enjoy this specialty?
I went to medical school with the intention of becoming a paediatrician. Although every encounter with a ‘cool’ doctor swayed my decision. In the space of 3 years I went from neurosurgery to cardiology to emergency medicine and back to paediatrics. I geared my CV towards paediatrics and chose to do a student selected component in the paediatric intensive care.
The paediatric intensive care was my first real encounter with anaesthetists and from there my interest in anaesthesia grew. I really enjoyed my anaesthesia and ITU rotation in final year. All the anaesthetists were really nice, seemed to genuinely enjoy their jobs and were just all-round cool people!
What is your greatest achievement till date?
Volunteering in Chad was one best things I have done to date. I’ve always wanted to use my medical skills in an area where they are desperately needed. It was a tough experience but definitely an experience of a lifetime. I am really passionate about developing world anaesthesia and it is something I look to do more of in the future.
What has been your biggest challenge working in this specialty so far?
One of the biggest challenges in anaesthesia is when things go wrong. Due to the nature of our work bad situations can escalate quickly and it is important for an anaesthetist to maintain an air of calm whilst trying to control the situation.
What do you like to do outside of work
I love to cook, it’s definitely my post work therapy. I like to travel as much as possible. I am a book worm, my last read was The Power by Naomi Alderman and I have recently taken up bouldering, so we will see how that goes!
What advice would you give to someone interested in this specialty?
Get yourself into your nearest anaesthetic room- we are always happy to give advice and explain more about what we do. If it is possible, do an ICU / anaesthetic job during your foundation training. You can even take time out of training to explore a career in anaesthesia before committing, as there are post F2 clinical fellow jobs available. Be prepared- the exams are hard, but it is a very rewarding career so don’t be put off. If I can do it so can you!