Passionate About Writing: The Road to Rediscovery

Patrice Baptiste Posted by Patrice Baptiste on November 30, 2015

rediscovering-writingI was delighted when I was chosen to talk at the Alternative Careers and Wellbeing event on the 31st October. My talk detailed my passion for writing, in particular opinion based articles and poetry.

I have always been interested in writing but during the latter years of medical school and the transition from student to doctor I stopped writing, (hence the title). There were a number of reasons for this but one of the main reasons was time; I was simply just trying to ‘stay afloat’ during my first foundation year. Any spare time I had was spent eating and sleeping!

I thought a good starting point would be to explain where my passion stemmed from. Poetry has always been an outlet for me, (along with another interest of mine which is playing the piano). I used it to express my feelings; whenever I had a moment I used to write about how I felt. Shortly after starting medical school I joined a poetry society where I wrote and performed some of my poetry. Somewhere along the line I stopped and I never really pinpointed the actual moment or admitted it until I ‘rediscovered writing’.

One particular Sunday I was reading the BMA News and I came across a section which was encouraging articles to be sent in. At this point I was thinking about taking a year out of training because I was not sure about which particular career path to embark on. I was exploring options both in and out of medicine. I submitted the article and it was published shortly after. I kept writing and since then I have had several articles published, (see links below).

Most of my talk was about the articles I’ve had published but I needed to elucidate that it was through writing these articles I gained the confidence to start writing poetry again. I am currently working on a collection of poems that I aim to self-publish next year. I have also submitted my poetry to a few publishers, (awaiting a reply so fingers crossed!) and a poem I wrote for Black History Month (BHM) 2015 has been published on the BHM 2015 website-Look Around.

Currently I am working on a number of other writing projects and I have recently secured a job as a health and wellness writer at The Canary which is an online news website.

I have always wanted to be a doctor and I have realised through my search to find a meaningful career that I still want to be a doctor. Without discussing the ongoing changes in the NHS I realised that the system is what I was having issues with during my foundation training not any issues with the nature of the profession per se. I would happily combine writing with working as a doctor and I am still working out how to do this. One thing I know is, I enjoy writing and it is possible for it to become a viable career. For now, I am enjoying my gap year and my success to date.

Links to some of my online articles published in 2015:

F2 in the Surgical High Dependency Unit (HDU)
Ask the Expert-Capacity and Consent
Mental Health Issues among Medical Students
Exploring Doctors’ Mental Health
Mental Health Issues among Doctors
I Aim to Inspire
Black Pioneers in Medicine

My poetry plus more can be found on my blog: Infinity Pages

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