So I just went to the first lecture from the keynote speakers Prof Phil Smith and Dr Tom Hughes and while I was expecting to learn all their secrets for why and how they do what they do, I was actually thrown into a morale debate with myself. Am I on the right path to becoming a successful consultant like them? Am I on the path to failure as Dr Hughes said he once was? What path am I on? So maybe failure is not all bad, I mean look where it got him. He failed his second year and he is now a consultant in a big fancy hospital. The dilemmas that ran through my mind were uncountable but when Dr Hughes said he failed I was comforted to know that it’s not the end of the world, so long as you get up and bounce back.
There was a lot of talk in the lecture about what it is to be an actual doctor and while the normal things came up like being kind and knowledgeable and wise, I was particularly struck by Prof Smith when he said “You have to walk the talk”. A slightly different saying to the more commonly known “Walk the walk” but good advice all the same. Being a doctor is about being a role model, to patients and to people out and about, who may not know you are a doctor but will see you doing good deeds and be inspired to do the same.
In the wise words of Prof Smith “Doctors should be seen taking the stairs…they should stop and pick up litter when they see it…and they should eat little bits of fruit and such.” Wiser words I have never heard. Eat little bits of fruit. So simple.
Prof Smith strikes me as the kind of man who gets his respect without demanding it. With such tall stature it’s hard not to see why, any man who has to duck when he enters the lecture theatre must be worth listening to. When he talks I’m reminded of the top of British society having high tea not the local Cardiff scene watching the rugby and talking about how the English shouldn’t have won last weeks game. Maybe it’s his loud assertive voice and slightly posh accent but it somehow draws my attention and I imagine the attention of the majority of the lecture theatre, well those not glued to their phone screens. I do have a little laugh at his more conservative views of the hospital, with his depictions of there always being a man at the top of that steep sided authority pyramid he loves and I couldn’t help but scoff a laugh when the girl sat next to me described his comment as “horrifically sexist”. I thought it was rather funny.