'When I grow up... I want to be a Doctor!'
by Bhavin Garara
‘Now we will find out who got the better A’s.’ This was the first thing I was told on Day One of the Medicine Course!
Not surprisingly, A-levels do not prepare you for the shock you face once you begin the course.
There is indeed a lot of work to do, long hours every week, stressful nights before exams and intense anxiety before results are published. There is no illusion; it is not easy but it is immensely fulfilling.
I am now a fourth year student. It has been a long journey and there is still more to come. I have got one more year before I graduate and two more years to decide on a specialist position.
So why choose medicine?
Personally, I chose it not because it was something I really wanted to do, but more because I was not sure what to do. At the age of 16, it is very difficult to make a choice that will affect the rest of your life. My decision was based on my interest in science and desire to do something challenging. This meant my application to Medical school had to be that much stronger. I was fortunate enough to work in a small city hospital in Nairobi, Kenya for a month. This work experience not only confirmed my decision, but gave me something to talk about in the interviews.
I am doing an intercalated degree at Nottingham University. Here the first two years of the course focus primarily on biomedical sciences, with some patient contact. For the first half of the third year, I did a research project and then began my clinical practice. Working in the hospital environment has been thoroughly enjoyable. As part of my curriculum, I was able to speak to patients with various diseases and disorders and scrub in to assist and watch surgeries ranging from heart bypass operations to emergency c-sections to a 12-hour long facial reconstruction! To this day, my most valued experience in the hospital has been working in the labour suite, helping midwives deliver babies.
The future, for me, holds a few big decisions. Firstly, I must decide where I want to do my 2 month elective and what specifically I want to do with it. I am in the process of planning a month’s work in Ahmadabad and another month’s work in the USA. I want to use my time during the elective to make an informed choice in the chosen fields of interest.
Secondly, I must think about what area of medicine I want to specialise in. Through my time in the hospital, I have been able to decide things I definitely do not want to do. I know that I want to go into surgery simply because I do not find Medicine as rewarding.
In basic terms, Medicine puts off the inevitable and therefore it takes a long time to see results, where as you see instant result in surgery and it is more importantly, for me, hands on. I have narrowed it down to Orthopaedics, Plastics, Cardiothoracics, ENT, Urology and Anaesthetics with special interests in emergency and intensive care medicine.
I hope I have managed to raise your interest and given you an insight into the life of a Medic. It is not as glamorous as it sounds, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I would invite anyone to join my profession, not because it is pleasing to be called ‘Doctor’ but because you too can someday say I have made a difference to many lives.