Job Title: Doctor/ General Duties Medical Officer
Organisation: British Army
Industry Sector: Healthcare
A Levels: Psychology, Biology, Geography, Chemistry
Grades Achieved: A*AAB
University: University of Southampton
Degree Course: Medicine
Professional Accreditation: General Medical Council
Despite what the first draft of my UCAS personal statement may have said, my route into medicine was not the result of a lifetime ambition but more a fortuitous decision at the age of 16, an overwhelming time when you make the seemingly agonising decision of what subjects to take forward to A-level and the even more agonising subsequent decision of what you want to do for the rest of your life. Having neglected to put any thought into this, it was clear I had a lot of soul searching to do. However, for me medicine stood out from the crowd early on. It attracted me with a sense of vocation and career structure for what at the time seemed an uncertain future, while also offering an endless list of career paths in an academic field that excited me. Reaching this decision was only half the battle; my GCSEs were good but far from perfect and I struggled with A-Level Chemistry. To this day – all undergraduate and postgraduate exams considered – I maintain they were one of the hardest set of exams I’ve sat! That being said, medicine is becoming increasingly holistic both in its treatment of patients and its selection of doctors. While exams are important and will accompany a clinician throughout their career, they form only one facet of a well-rounded individual with attention now also focusing on the ability to apply oneself using critical thinking, communication skills, teamwork and leadership. Therefore, while school provided excellent support to me academically it is the breadth of opportunity outside the classroom and the intrinsic ethos of the school for which I am most grateful. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, it was from experiences such as my time in the Combined Cadet Force, my role as Deputy Head Boy and playing rugby for the school that formed the foundations of the core values that I rely on today, the interests that I now relish in my personal life and the skills required in my working life.
"While school provided excellent support to me academically, it is the breadth of opportunity outside the classroom and the intrinsic ethos of the school for which I am most grateful."
In 2011, I began my studies at the University of Southampton where I spent a thoroughly enjoyable 5 years. University is a melting pot of people hungry for life experience which allowed me to build on the foundations I’d made at school. Sport and the importance of individual endeavour – irrespective of achievement – was a prominent feature of my school experience and despite hanging up my rugby boots, I maintained this sense of importance at university. During my fourth year and at the age of twenty-one I made the rather painful transition from rugby player to runner and became the youngest competitor to complete the 30th Marathon des Sables; this consists of running 6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara Desert. All throughout university I was also fortunate enough to combine my passion for travel with experiencing global health provision first hand as I spent time in hospitals ranging from an inner city hospital in Delhi to a rural Emergency Department in South Africa before hitchhiking the length of Malawi and Tanzania. It was during these experiences that I first developed my professional interest in trauma, critical care and anaesthesia.
Towards the end of my time at university, I began to look ahead to my fast approaching career as a doctor and the path best suited to me. Much like the decision I made to enter medicine when I was 16, a career as a doctor in the British Army immediately stood out. Professionally, the Army offered me a vast selection of unique experiences and opportunities while personally, I was drawn to the ethos, camaraderie and sense of service that is intrinsic to a life in the Army. During my final year at university I was awarded a place on the Army’s Medical Bursary scheme and upon graduation I completed my first two years as a junior doctor in a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit in Portsmouth. In 2018 I took a hiatus from the medical world and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where I commissioned as a Lieutenant into the Royal Army Medical Corps. I will soon progress to the next stage of my career where I will be posted to a medical regiment as a General Duties Medical Officer. I look forward to providing medical support at home and as part of overseas operations, training and humanitarian aid. When my posting comes to an end, I hope to train in anaesthetics and critical care.
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Current Needs of Employers in my field
Resilience – Life in the NHS and military can be challenging and resilience to adversity is an asset that is viewed equally to any other certificate or qualification.
Things I wish I’d known in Sixth Form
Don’t worry about being the finished article, knowing exactly what you want to do or who you want to be when your time at school comes to an end. School provides you with the foundations which you then build upon to develop who you are as an adult; I’ve learnt and developed more about myself in the eight years since leaving school than in the eighteen years previously.
Describe LGS in three words
Breadth of opportunity.