Becoming A Doctor – The Only Vocation I Am Willing To Pursue
Growing up with my mother, who has had diabetes for 17 years, I learnt a lot about its effects. I was 6 years old when I first witnessed my mother having a hypoglycaemic attack and after this, seeing her inject insulin on a daily basis allowed me to really appreciate the significance that medicine has in our daily lives; I was inspired to participate in a diabetes clinical research trial to help with research into auto-antibodies and type 1 diabetes prevention.
Volunteering in a care home enabled me to gain experience, particularly in improving my communication skills with older age groups. Here I visit a lady on a weekly basis to talk to; although it is difficult at times hearing about her loneliness I feel I have a positive impact in her life. The multidisciplinary team of care workers, receptionists and assistants worked well together, which was evident in the quality of life that the residents had.
Shadowing a general practice consultant in a clinic contrasted the environment of the care home. I learnt that doctors not only improve health but also wellbeing. The surgery was in a village largely populated by elderly people living alone. The doctor expressed altruism and compassion by taking care to spend slightly more time with these people, despite having minimal time for breaks. I aspire to display these qualities as a doctor in the future.
A visit during work experience to a dementia patient in pain was difficult, as she was unable to communicate why or how she was suffering. The doctor displayed great empathy towards patients; I noticed how he adapted his language for different patients to communicate effectively. The trust that every person put into the doctor was inspiring.
Learning about ethics interests me, as I feel it’s an important aspect to developing a strong moral base – a necessary trait for informed decision making. I attended an ethics talk in July where I spent the day debating and discussing issues which face the NHS today; learnt from other people’s opinions and perspectives, e. g. when discussing organ transplants I argued that if a person needs a transplant more than another, they should have the surgery first, whereas another student in the group raised the point that some are more likely to have successful transplants than others so this should be accounted for- an idea I had not considered before. I now appreciate the importance of reflecting on circumstances rather than jumping to conclusions.
I developed my communicative skills and ability to problem solve throughout my year as a school peer mentor for younger students (and plan on improving them further through participation in various university societies). By cultivating my ability to empathise and think on my feet for possible solutions to a variety of situations, I became a relatable, trustworthy mentor, offering tailored advice for each pupil. Seeing mentees who I counselled grow in confidence and find new friendship groups was extremely rewarding. I am continuing to develop these skills through my job as a piano tutor, since passing my grade 8 exam. In my spare time I play the piano to relax and have been playing for 9 years.
The necessity to have good time management skills became apparent during work experience; being part of a 16-man competitive synchronised skating team for several years I advanced my ability to manage time well, as practice times were often changed at short notice and took up much free time.
I learnt from work experience that a career in medicine will enable me to make positive changes to lives. The continuous learning and personal contact with patients and peers contributed to my decision to become a doctor. Although I understand that becoming a doctor is a long, intense process and the job itself can be very stressful and tiring, my motivation and passion to help people and work in the stimulating world of medicine outweighs the negatives; I am sure that medicine is the only vocation I am willing to pursue.
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