Shefali Kadambande is running late. When she arrives, she is apologetic, but who can be annoyed that a person is late because she’s been helping people with their health?
“I’m a consultant anaesthetist with a special interest in pain management, that’s my sub-speciality. I’ve also been involved in the dental advanced sedation in the dental hospital, that’s my basic job really as a consultant anaesthetist,” she says. “I have other roles as well, so I’m an education supervisor for anaesthesia training, also a clinical module supervisor for intermediate pain trainees, and also the local pain medicine advanced education supervisor for the advanced trainees. So there’s a few hats.. I also examined the dental MSc students last year.”
Kadambande did her medical training in Bombay and qualified in 1992 before a post-grad in anaesthetics. When she received her MD, she became a lecturer in Bombay and realised how much she enjoyed teaching.
“I’ve always found it very stimulating and I worked in the teaching hospital of the university in Bombay. Then I followed on to work in a cancer institute, and again I enjoyed that,” she explains.
Shefali never intended to come to the UK but family brought her and she did an anaesthetic rotation in Wales.
“I did the advanced pain training because I was interested, and then I got a job with a special interest in pain medicine as a consultant anaesthetist,” she continues. “Again, I’ve always wanted to work at a big university teaching hospital because I like the opportunities it offers of research and teaching, so that’s how I ended up in this hospital. I’ve been a consultant for the past five years now.”
People who work at the hospital have very varying interests but there is often a single unifying interest. Shefali doesn’t agree when I mention this to her.
“I don’t think there can be a single thing because of the different hats I wear. I mean, I love being an anaesthetist because you can influence the patients’ outcome in surgery, I love doing pain medicine because I think I have the perseverance and the empathy, the attributes needed for that job, plus the skills needed for interventions,” she explains. “I love my teaching role because I find it very exciting working with young people in a team and sharing knowledge. I believe from the feedback I get, that there are people who are natural teachers and some who are not. I enjoy assuming a leadership role in teaching, I like to organise things and deal with faculty. There’s certainly several things for me.”
However, she says that her clinical role is what keeps her fresh.
“The stimulus that comes from seeing patients, making a diagnosis and treating them, forming partnerships with your patients, I’m very passionate about that,” Shefali says.
When I point out that it’s quite unusual to hear clinicians talking about forming a partnership with a patient, she says that it is absolutely the appropriate metaphor.
“I think too many clinicians feel that they have this urge to take over the care of their patient, whereas at the end of the day it’s your body, it’s your health, and there has to be some ownership, you have to work within a partnership, it’s only then you can see a sustainable difference.”
But it’s through her work in medical simulation that Shefali has become involved with the Bill Mapleson Centre.
After running the medical emergencies simulation scenarios for MSc dentists over the past few years, she was asked to further help out in simulation.
“I quite enjoyed [it]. I never get involved in any project giving less than a 100%, or even more sometimes, so I could never sort of stand back and observe,” she says. “I always have to be in there with the action, and I think I sort of talked for a year, and then I slowly got into becoming the course organiser.”
Organising that course for the post-grad dental students was interesting and stimulating for her.
At the Bill Mapleson Centre, Shefali will be in charge of running the simulation course with fewer lectures than the three day CPD course which has run in the past for MSc Dental students.
“It will be a national course because it’s a requirement of the national body, the GDC, dentists need to fulfil CPD requirements, so they need to be aware of emergencies that happen in the dental chair and be able to deal with them,” she explains. “So currently in our area there’s no similar course. They are elsewhere, like in London or Bristol but not in Wales: this will be the first of its kind for Wales.”
The course will run in November with the high fidelity mannequins which have the ability to breathe, bleed, and generally create an experience as close to a medical emergency as can be simulated.
But Shefali is already looking to the future of the course.
If we start off with medical simulation for emergencies, sitting in a dental chair, the second course will be for medical emergencies and advanced sedation,” she says in closing. “There are dentists out there who give sedation themselves but we want to make sure that they do it safely. We can tailor that day for them. We’re hoping next year that there’s a market out there for courses for the whole dental team, the hygienists, the nurses who assist them, so the team can work together to avoid medical disaster.”