Voluntary work at a day centre and the mosque has shown me that I derive a great deal of satisfaction from working with people, helping them in practical ways and talking to vulnerable members of society. After my GCSES, reading ‘Do No Harm’ by Dr. Henry Marsh aided me in finding out the ultimate way I can look after the needs of others and use my skills as a scientist. This was to become a doctor. The memoir delves into the life of a neurosurgeon and made me realise that not becoming a doctor would fulfil the sort of person I want to be: skilled, determined and dependable.
I know that life as a doctor can be challenging. So to find out more, I shadowed consultant radiologists, endoscopists and pathologists at UCLH. I observed a multidisciplinary team meeting where doctors discussed difficult cases to decide the next treatment step and I saw how much of a team player a doctor has to be. I had the opportunity to experience fascinating medical procedures such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA). There was a patient with a gastrointestinal stromal tumour between the heart and liver who needed RFA. This case showed me the degree of manual dexterity, focus and concentration needed to carry out treatments. So then I took up the guitar to train these cognitive and motor skills of mine.
I organised work experience at Kingston Hospital where I interacted with patients. I shadowed a consultant colorectal surgeon and witnessed his clinic and procedures, my first glimpse of ‘inside’s out’ and a lesson in teamwork and professional calm. I worked with junior doctors and helped them prepare equipment for taking bloods and I also spoke to patients. In A&E, a 77 year old woman with diarrhoea and abdominal pain would not talk to the doctors about her condition. The doctors went out to obtain her medical history and I was left alone with her when she revealed to me that she had a history of Hepatitis C. She refused to talk to the doctors as she felt vulnerable and embarrassed but spoke to me knowing I would be impartial. It pleased me that she was prepared to confide in me about her condition because I am an approachable person who listened to her. I know that as a doctor I will not be able to do this in an overstretched NHS. It was a stressful situation for me, but I remained calm.
I enjoy studying Biology and Chemistry for their own sake and am keen to know more beyond the scope of the A-level syllabus. For example, my work experience in a pharmacy increased my respect for the type of drugs available and I noticed how the launch of a new drug to battle hypercholesterolaemia related to my study of monoclonal antibodies. Alongside my AS-levels I took part in academic competitions like the Senior Maths Challenge and British Biology Olympiad. These helped me develop my problem solving skills and broaden my knowledge. I was also mentoring a Maths GCSE student, building up his confidence. My annual volunteering at the mosque for 4 years has helped evolve my people skills and overcome my initial shyness. I brought the workers food and was also responsible for organising books, developing my organisation skills. My 1 year job as a content producer for a media journalism website has honed my writing skills as I made YouTube videos and wrote articles. This was useful as being a doctor is not only about patients, but also paperwork e.g. TTOS. Leading and working with a team of 6 people has helped me develop leadership and team skills as I was also training new members on how to use templates/edit videos etc. I am currently volunteering at a day centre for the elderly where I meet different people every day and try to make them feel included in activities such as quizzes and board games.
Outside of school, reading and badminton help me to relax. I am also very knowledgeable of computers, building my first computer at the age of 11. This showed me how something that can seem so complex is just a puzzle that can be solved by using initiative.
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