Let's Talk Surgery Podcast, Surgical Crossroads: Choosing your specialty - the General Surgery episode
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Welcome to the Surgical Crossroads series with hosts Sesi Hotonu and Sadie Khwaja. This episode looks at General Surgery with another fantastic panel of guests.
Jane Macaskill is a consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon in NHS Tayside. She is from Scotland and completed her training in Dundee and Edinburgh. Jane decided to pursue a career in surgery after an inspiring surgical placement with an ‘old-fashioned’ general surgeon who did everything. She enjoyed the exposure to a real mix of surgery and met some inspiring patients, and from that point she was hooked. She moved into breast surgery when a job opportunity arose at the Breast Clinic in Edinburgh.
Jane finds that breast surgery patients are particularly well informed about the treatments available to them and enjoys the challenge of keeping up to date with all the latest developments in her area. Jane also has an interest in global health and volunteers with the charity, Medical Aid for Palestinians, going out to the West Bank and helping surgeons there to develop their breast cancer services.
Kellie Bateman is a general surgery registrar in Wales. She was drawn to general surgery during her training rotation by the supportive team, the pace of the ward rounds and the logical steps involved. After originally considering urology, she decided she liked the variety of general surgery so made the commitment to this career path last year. Kellie is currently taking a year out to be a Welsh clinical leadership fellow with Improvement Cymru, and she finds the specialty are very supportive of pursuing such other areas of interest. Kellie is is also a member of the RCSEd trainees committee and is passionate about wellbeing and improving training.
Syed Zaidi is an academic foundation year one trainee with a keen interest in general surgery. He considers himself a hands-on person and has always been inclined towards a career in surgery. He describes the steep learning curve from being a medical student to taking responsibility for your patients, but he finds this is the most rewarding part of the job. Syed describes the difficulty of choosing a specialty when all senior colleagues talk about their disciplines with such passion. He strongly recommends going to theatres, getting to know consultants and getting a feel for the different specialties.
We also speak to our own ‘Let’s Talk Surgery’ host, Greg Ekatah about his pathway through general surgery to sub-specialising as a colorectal surgeon. He enjoys the breadth of the biology and patient groups and is excited by the development of robotic surgery and technological advances in the specialty. Greg gives us a really helpful overview of the training pathway to becoming a general surgeon. He heartily recommends giving general surgery a go, and says you need to experience it hands-on to understand why it is so enjoyable.
The panel’s advice for trainees who are interested in a career in general surgery is to be proactive and make your own opportunities. Work hard, take your time, and enjoy the journey.
Visit https://www.rcsed.ac.uk/ for further information and details on becoming a member.
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This show is brought to you by the RCSEd. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. Hosted by Greg Ekatah, Sesi Hotonu and Sadie Khwaja produced and directed by Heather Pownall of Heather's Media Hub Ltd.