As a teenager I decided I would never be a doctor. I wasn’t much of a non-conformist – in fact, I was sickeningly well-behaved – but I knew that there was a stereotype of medicine running in families and I wasn’t having any of it. My father was a doctor and was often home late or working odd hours on Christmas and weekends and I thought – not for me. I was going to do Science with a capital ‘S’, and was planning to apply for a degree in Natural Sciences. Lab work didn’t necessarily appeal much, but enough time to think about that after university. When I told my family my plans, they were all very supportive. My dad made only one suggestion – that I do a week of work experience in hospital, just to see. That sounded reasonable and I agreed. I walked into the hospital foyer at Bighospital and I’d never felt more at home. It was a defining moment that changed the course of my life.
I trained at the university associated with Bighospital but spent remarkably little time there – my placements were generally in satellite hospitals across the region. One of these I loved so much I applied there for my foundation programme. Now, eight years after first walking in the main entrance, I am back. I come home late. I work odd hours on Christmas and weekends. I am my father’s son.
I understand why, now.