Undergraduate medical students got given some career advice from a high-flying female doctor on Friday during the BMA medical students conference.
Royal College of Physicians’ president Jane Dacre, who is also UCL medical school director, offered students the benefit of experience gained over her own career as busy doctor, academic and mother-of-three.
• Choose wisely – ‘Go into the career pathway that suits you and your personality. If you do that you will feel better, happier and then you will do better. There are some specialties where you can choose where you want to work, so don’t be too fixated in what you want to do. Look at competition ratios’
• Equality and Diversity – Women must be ‘more forthright, believe in themselves and take a few more risks’. She also called for students to support widening participation to make the profession more representative and create more opportunities for black and minority ethnic doctors
• Work life balance – Don’t forget the importance of a work/life balance
• Supporting networks – ‘Don’t isolate yourself as a doctor. Network, make sure you talk to everybody, develop your own supporting networks. Don’t become a singlehanded GP [for example], make sure you have got friends’
• Professional support and development – Get involved in the BMA and the medical royal colleges
• Family support – ‘Look after your family. Your parents have looked after you and you need to be prepared to look after them, your children and your siblings. When you fail an exam, you want your mum – nurture and support those relationships. They will help you to have a brilliant career’
• Location – ‘Most students will stay where they are put in their foundation years – geography is the single most important factor in your career’
• Conscientiousness – ‘It’s the biggest attribute that predicts success in doctors apart from grades in chemistry A-level’
• Leadership – ‘You need to get yourself on the platform’
• The Future – ‘Things change, you don’t know what’s going to happen – get engaged, help shape the future.’
Find a supportive partner who will not only encourage you, but will be excited with you when you have success. Don't stay with a partner who is jealous of your success; equally love it when your other half does well.
Agree with comment above. Nothing to add.
Great advice for people working in any profession. I would add: as you progress, look for opportunities to help other people achieve their goals. Take every chance to teach, mentor and advise. This is something that Prof Dacre does very graciously, though she would be too modest to say so.