I have always enjoyed writing, especially creatively but I never really thought about it as a potential career. However, as time went on and I finished my medical degree I realised the various ways I could incorporate writing into my life, alongisde working as a doctor and I even realised the possibility of turning writing into a full time career.
Soon after I started my second foundation year I began exploring a number of career paths in and outside of medicine. I looked at various specialties and was not quite ‘sold’ on any one in particular. I was also not very keen on General Practice (GP) but considered it more appealing than being the ‘med reg’ on call and all that hospital life had to offer. I also began to look at other options outside of medicine just to see what was out there. Often as medics we think inside ‘the box’- either become a hospital consultant or GP; when you qualify you have to be a doctor for the rest of your life.
Of course no one studies for 5-6 years to change career paths but things happen and people change so a career change should not be such a crazy idea.
Outside of full time work I had a number of interests and worked so hard to maintain them. Writing was something I always enjoyed and I started to explore ways in which I could make it a viable career. I already had a few articles published so that gave me a confidence boost and the encouragement to look into it further.
I started searching for more information about ‘medical writing’ which yielded a number of results about a career(s) I had very little knowledge about.
I did a basic search and found a number of medical communications agencies which I subsequently applied to. I was offered a job as a trainee/associate medical writer after passing a writing test and attending two interviews, (phone and face-to face) but I later declined the offer.
There were a few reasons for this:
1) I recently finished the foundation programme and did not want to start another job straight away
2) I would be writing for clients so none of my creativity would really be allowed to shine through. The company was quite small and I was not sure how many opportunities were available to me there.
3) No doubt an internship will be useful, (which is why I agreed to one) but at present I am quite happy pursuing my own projects and working for The Canary as one of the health and wellness writers.
Medical journalism can be quite intense but at The Canary the team are great. They help nurture and develop my writing. I enjoy being able to provide a different angle to a number of wide ranging topics in society today. I also enjoy the flexibility of freelance writing.
I also have a blog called Infinity Pages where I showcase my published articles, poetry, community work and inspirational stories about others, (Spotlight Interviews). I am also working on a collection of poems which will hopefully be published by spring and of course I have joined the Medic Footprints team as one of their writers. I have a number of ideas for future articles which are currently in the pipeline!
The great thing with writing is, no matter what I decide to do- whether I continue on to practice medicine or not, I can write in addition to my chosen career or I can make it a viable career if I so wished to.
Since completing the foundation programme I am enjoying the freedom of my ‘FY3’ year. I work part time as a doctor and the remainder of my time is spent developing my interests. Of course one of which is writing, but I also enjoy playing the piano and long-distancing running. I also enjoy being one of the Director Appointees at a local school in Waltham Forest as well as going to local schools to speak to students about medicine. I am one of the members on the Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) alumni committee at UCL which enables me to engage with and organise events held at UCL as well as networking with other like-minded individuals.
Image courtesy of The Canary.