I graduated medical school at the University of Glasgow in June 2012, and then spent twelve months beginning to learn how to be a doctor. My entire personal development plan for FY1 was to 1) not die and 2) not kill people.
All junior doctors in the NHS are trained for their first two years in the Foundation Programme, which comes with a learning curve so steep it requires safety ropes and a buddy system. (I kind of loved my FY1 year — I blame that on having been delirious from exhaustion and panic for almost all of it.) Improbably, I’ve now emerged on the other side of the Foundation Programme. I learned a lot and I had fun, and my nerves remain mostly intact and I’m still smiling, so, you see, it is possible.
This year, I’ve taken a year out of training. I’m spending this year being a Clinical Fellow in Haematology by day and between times a kind of peripatetic gradeless SHO in Acute Medicine. This was unplanned, but it’s turned out to be maybe better than what I’d had planned in the first place. I am a physician by temperament and by passion, and I am heading in the direction of two years of Core Medical Training.
The largest part of my non-medical identity relates to the work I do with the Scottish Episcopal Church. I came to the SEC by way of Roman Catholicism and a little bit the Church of England. I am a member of St Mary’s Cathedral. St Mary’s is an open, inclusive, and welcoming congregation in the West End of Glasgow. I am a member of the serving team (which more than fulfills any occasional urge I might have to run away and join the circus) and have developed a repertoire of tricks that one can do with a thurible (the accomplishment outside of medicine of which I am actually most proud is my ability to thurible while walking backwards). I have been a member of the General Synod of the Church since 2013. I am a convenor of Changing Attitude Scotland, the advocacy group for LGBT rights within the Scottish Episcopal Church. For the last six years I have been involved in the campaigning for and passage of equal marriage legislation in Scotland, and I consider myself an advocate and activist in the painful and frustrating fight for all kinds of social justice within the Church.
I am also a choral singer with the City of Glasgow Chorus, with whom I sing a repertoire that ranges from Bach in an ancient abbey to Mamma Mia in a silly hat. I am a distance runner, intermittently, and am currently training for my first attempt at the marathon distance which will take place in Brighton in April 2015 as a sort of insane celebration of my birthday. I am a bookworm of eclectic taste. My life is fuelled mostly by caffeine, and, occasionally, I sleep.
The Legal Fine Print
As per Good Medical Practice 2013. All patient encounters referred to have been anonymised, fictionalised, and composited in order to preserve patient confidentiality. I do not intend anything I have written to be taken as medical advice, nor do I give medical advice over the Internet. I write under my own name and will provide my GMC number on request. I blog in a personal capacity and I do not presume to speak for any organisation that I work for or for anyone other than myself.