|4 Jun 2020|
I was so happy when I heard from one of our Alumane Dr Ruth Blessed. I asked her if she could tell me a little about her career to date. With the Covid epidemic she has been so busy, but still found the time to tell me her story. All of us at SWPS are very proud of her. This is Ruth's story:
Back in 2001 I started at SWPS and little did I know how lucky I was and how it would shape my future.
I have some of the most wonderful memories of my time there including day one in year 7A, the multiple cakes I brought home from our Home Economics lessons, the clock I made in Design Technology, the friendly competition between year groups on sports day and of course the yearly sixth form pantomime! In fact I gave a speech on our leavers day in 2008 and I remember it as though it was yesterday. Time flies!
I will always look back and remember how supported I was by my teachers when we had to make that decision about university and what we wanted to do. My favourite subject at school was science, partly helped by enthusiastic and encouraging teachers (special mention to Mr Dodd) but also I was fascinated by how the body functions. I remember a particular practical in Chemistry where I ended up discarding the wrong liquid and having to start all over again, Mr Dodd was so patient.
In 2008 I went to the University of Bristol and studied Human Anatomy. I remember we had school trips to visit different Universities, on reflection this was so useful and had I not been to Bristol I would not have known that they offered this degree. As you can imagine 3 years flew by and at the end of my degree I realised what I really wanted to do was become a doctor.
I took a year out after I graduated to really focus on getting the experience I needed to apply to Medicine. I volunteered at St Peter’s Hospital on the HDU which involved me chatting to patients, getting them food & drink and helping re-stock supply cupboards. I also got a job as a Health-care assistant (HCA) at a local care home which not only gave me an appreciation for what it is like to be an HCA and nurse but was also a good way of earning some money.
I successfully started studying Medicine in 2012 and my hard work paid off as I made it onto the Graduate Entry programme at the University of Liverpool. This was a 4 year fast track course in comparison to the normal 5 years. I would not want to pretend that it was easy because it involved a lot of hours studying but medics are known for working hard and playing hard, so I had a great time.
Then comes the next stage in your career, what did I want to specialise in? Now this has seemed like the hardest decision of all so far. I enjoyed most specialties at medical school and in training but what I really thrived from was the thrill of the Accident & Emergency department — real life Casualty or Holby City.
I have been doing A&E for just over 2 years now and it really is so rewarding with such a mix of patients, I absolutely love my job. For example the elderly who have fallen and broken their hip versus the young male with appendicitis. I enjoy the fact I get to see multiple specialty problems and not just deal with one organ or system, which other specialities such as Surgery/Paediatrics etc would not provide me.
Saying this I am about to start a GP training programme from August. I am not changing specialties because I don’t like A&E but because I would like more of a work-life balance and GP does provide a similar variety of patients. Again this is not something you would consider being important to you at the start of your career but night shifts can become rather exhausting.
Overall what I would say is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t make it into Medicine straight from school or if you don’t even know what you want to do yet. There is no rush, just do something you enjoy and things always fall into place. Sir William Perkins School has always been very encouraging whatever route you pursue and it is for this reason I am so thankful to be an alumna of the school.