This week heralds the #moretomedicine campaign, which highlights that there is so much more to us as medics than what we do on a day to day basis. We are highly skilled professionals who are also creative, spontaneous and innovative. There are so many doctors and medical students who are breaking boundaries and raising the bar in various medical and non-medical fields. This campaign is not only important for doctors who are perhaps thinking about changing or diversifying their careers but for medical students and prospective medical students who have not yet experienced the medical working world.
Lack of awareness and insight
I regularly work with a wide range of students in London, especially students from disadvantaged backgrounds. What is abundantly clear to me is that these students do not fully grasp the real day to day work that doctors do nor the issues we face; whether that be ongoing political issues with regards to the NHS or the mental health problems that doctors are battling whilst still doing their best to provide excellent care to their patients.
This is one of the reasons why I founded DreamSmartTutors. Here, students not only receive the support and guidance they need with the medical school application process but we also educate and inform our students about what doctors really do, the various careers that exist, the endless possibilities when you become a doctor and the challenges faced in this profession. As doctors we are taught to present all the information to a patient and to communicate it in any way necessary so that patient can make an informed decision. This is the same principle applied at DreamSmartTutors, we simply educate students and then provide support with the medical school application process.
Demonstrating what is possible and self-sacrifice
There is often a picture painted at medical school, and that is one of two set, rigid pathways to completing your training. You can choose to become a hospital consultant or become a GP. Taking a gap year to explore other avenues, perhaps outside of medicine may be frowned upon. When I announced I would be taking a gap year after the foundation programme, something that is becoming more and more common, I was met with comments like “How did you take a gap year on my watch? “Why are you taking a gap year?” or “Why are you taking a break already?” “Won’t you be bored? What will you do?” It felt like I was committing a crime!
There are so many doctors with multiple interests, working in other areas in addition to medicine or who have left medicine and are pursuing interests and careers that they never had the chance to fully experience whilst practicing medicine. There are a plethora of varied careers that should have a light shone on them, then future medical students and doctors are fully aware of everything that is possible. They can sculpt their own diversified careers and create new pathways.
It is too easy to become institutionalized within medicine;
working above and beyond each and every day and putting yourself last. Medics work exceptionally hard not because this is what is expected of them but because they want to give their all to the patients they treat.
However, the very nature of this job (or vocation) means that you can end up giving so much of yourself to others that there is none of you left for you! By showing that there is more to medicine we are showing that anything and everything is possible. Escape the bubble that is medicine to experiment, explore and create whatever it is you want!
Find out what’s #moretomedicine here!