|English and Related Literature
|Clinical Research Fellow/doctor (obstetrics & gynaecology)
|University of Oxford
|Large business (250+ employees)
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A day in the life of a Clinical Research Fellow/doctor (obstetrics & gynaecology) in the United Kingdom
I graduated during the credit crunch ... decided to reconsider other career options I had previously ruled out and studied graduate-entry medicine.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
What do you do?
Day to day clinical work in obstetrics as a junior doctor is extremely varied: seeing pregnant women who come to hospital with acute medical problems or concerns about their baby; antenatal clinics; and caring for women in labour who have any features in their pregnancy that might make them higher risk. In gynaecology the work is similarly divided into seeing women who have emergency problems either in early pregnancy or in non-pregnant women as well as clinic-based work and planned surgical work. As a specialty trainee, you are involved in all aspects of the work. Part of my working year is reserved for research in various aspects of women's health and there are a range of job structures that allow you to combine the two aspects.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I graduated during the credit crunch years and completed piles of unsuccessful job applications for graduate entry positions in the public and private sectors. After some reflection, I decided to reconsider other career options I had previously ruled out. I studied graduate-entry medicine and completed my foundation training in the NHS before completing a higher degree in epidemiology. I developed an interest in the very varied and acute specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology along the way.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Definitely. After graduation, I had imagined joining some generic graduate programme and would study up on individual companies to give the impression I was genuinely excited by their field (sales, management, finance etc. etc.). I came to the point where I decided I would have a rethink and either take a working gap year or take up further study. I had wanted to be a paramedic in college but hadn't studied the proper sciences and I considered taking an access course and then pursuing this career. I got a job doing data entry at my local hospital after seeing an ad at the job centre where I came across the concept of graduate medicine which I had never thought would be a possibility for me.
Describe your most memorable day at work
There are too many memorable days in obstetrics and gynaecology and these are very varied. From supporting couples who are experiencing the grief of a pregnancy loss, to the safe and happy delivery of triplets.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Sharing the experience of a couple's childbirth is unique, especially when there are complications that you can guide them through. This aspect of clinical work can be demanding, fast-paced, and challenging. Although the technical aspects of the work may be difficult, it is your communication skills and empathy that I think make the biggest difference to women's experience.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
The work culture is one reason why I love my specialty so much - working as part of a big team of midwives, doctor and nurses is fun and the friendships you develop are what help you during difficult clinical situations.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I didn't take the opportunities the student societies offer seriously enough and didn't really think about the benefits these experiences could bring in terms of equipping myself for the job market. If I could go back there are lots of skills I would want to develop now, but did not see the importance of then. I did several of the charity hitch-hike programs that were running at the time and I think these potentially demonstrated a sense of independence/ pragmatism/ reliability.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Thinking about what you want to do is difficult. Before starting my undergrad, I thought a 'general' degree would be useful for anything but was faced with a difficult job market after graduation and I don't think I had done much to meaningfully enhance my CV. An initial period of work was helpful for me to think about what I wanted to do in a job I didn't feel locked into. I had the chance to return to an earlier career aim and it worked out.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
English, medicine, epidemiology, graduate-entry medicine, working life as a junior doctor, academic medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, other health careers, interview skills, and anything else that might be useful.
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