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Dr Katy Smith is a Paediatrics doctor in south Wales
I’m Katy and I’m a children’s doctor working and living in south Wales. I love my job and the journey that I’ve taken to get here. As with most journeys it’s had its up and downs but ultimately I would say it’s been well worth it!
So where did it all start? Well I was born and bred in Cardiff and can remember the exact moment when I wanted to become a doctor. I was six years of age and was admitted to hospital with a chest infection. The staff answered all of my questions and even showed me my X-Ray. I knew at that point that this was something I wanted to do.
Why medicine? I enjoyed science at school and also knew that I could get bored easily. I needed a career that was varied enough to keep me entertained for a long time. In addition to the above, what really fascinated me were people and the idea of doing something that would make a real positive difference to people’s lives.
With this in mind, I took biology and chemistry at A-Level in my local 6th form college and got a place to study medicine at Nottingham University. You don’t have to be a genius to study medicine but you do have to be able to work hard and apply yourself. You also don’t have to be completely science minded - in fact, having other interests is actively encouraged! I studied Spanish at A-Level as well as playing hockey and becoming an expert on the local coffee shops.
University was certainly an adventure. Moving away from home meant I learnt to fend for myself and made friends for life. In addition to attending lectures, I played football for the medical school women’s team and got to play all over Europe, including Barcelona.
I certainly didn’t spend all my time sat in a lecture theatre either. From first year, we spent time in hospitals talking to patients and learning practical skills in the simulation suites. In my final year, I travelled to Uganda and experienced the challenges of delivering healthcare in an area with very few health resources and was involved in setting up a charity for widows and orphans.
In my first two years of work, I rotated through different departments including surgery, adult medicine, and general practice but finally set my heart on paediatrics and moved back to Wales for further training.
My days are hugely varied. I could be inserting drips into tiny premature babies one day or helping a young person with diabetes to fit their condition around their social life the next. Working in the health service is sometimes tough especially at 3 in the morning. However, the amazing hospital team (and several cups of coffee!) always pull me through, and even when I’m at my most tired, one of my patients will do something that makes me laugh and remind me why I’m there in the first place.
Katy’s blog was provided by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and forms part of BMA Cymru Wales’s widening access project, demystifying the myths around medicine. Find out more at www.bma.org.uk/becomingadoctor