I decided to write this specific blog post after I received a message on social media. The message was not meant to be vindictive but it was about my interest in Neurosurgery and how I should consider if this is really the career for me as it is a lot of work and being a female, it wouldn’t fit with a family life as well.
Now, this is not the first time I’ve heard something along these lines, whenever I tell people I am considering Neurosurgery as a career and am quite certain that I want to be a Surgeon in general, I always get the “are you sure” “do you know how hard it is” “don’t you want a family” questions. I thought it would be important to speak about, especially as being a black female from Dagenham which already made getting into Med School a bigger deal than normal.
Whilst it is true that careers in certain fields have longer hours and take a longer time to train for compared to a career as a GP let’s say, you should not let this limit your mind-set and become the only reason why you go for a certain career. Medical school is long and hard, hence you should find something you’re passionate about and pursue. You should also not allow your sex or ethnicity to stop you from going for those certain careers.
Having a mum in healthcare allowed me to see the reality of working long hours and the effect that it would have on family life as being a Band 8A nurse, there are days where she does get home as late as 11pm. However, my dad made this work which shows that it is all about the support system you have around you.
Nonetheless, it is important to keep an open mind set, especially as I am only a 3rdyear medical student. This can be done by going to a variety of different talks/conferences for example I am attending a Neurology and Neurosurgery conference at the RSM but also a talk on Colorectal Cancer two weeks after at university. You can also get some shadowing and experience in the different fields you are interested in and throughout your clinical years, you will be exposed to a variety of areas of medicine on placement. It is good to have something in mind but at the same time your mind may change throughout medical school and your time as a junior doctor so look around!
In conclusion, I just wanted to remind people that you can do anything! Getting into medical school is such a big achievement within itself, hence you should not let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Yes, the work load may be intense and you may have to make some sacrifices but in all honesty what is new there? From the 1styear of medical school you began working harder, studying harder and making more sacrifices than the rest of the student population hence this should not be seen as a big deterrent but a reminder of how privileged you are to be studying such an amazing degree.
Written By Lizkerry Odeh