At Careers UK, we recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr Gurmit Singh, Consultant at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, who deliver passionate care from their main two hospitals: Calderdale Royal Hospital and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
What inspired you to get where you are today?
“I am originally from India where I did my primary and secondary school education; and went to medical school there. I was inspired by science, particularly biology, which has been my favourite subject and I was fascinated studying the human body which is a marvel.”
Did you always want to end up where you are now?
What were your key stepping stones?
“The first stepping stone was getting into the medical school. It was a big test of self-belief and academia as it is fiercely competitive in India to get into a medical school. It was immensely pleasing when I came to know that I was successful as it reinforces that self-belief in yourself which becomes a foundation to perform well. The next stepping stone was the process of coming to the UK and starting my Post-Graduate Medical Training. It was a long process of taking a pre-requisite theory examination in India and doing an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) in the UK. The following key stepping stone for me was doing an unpaid Observer ship at an NHS hospital in the UK: this meant you should able to sustain yourself financially in the UK for at least a few months before one can secure a job. Another key stepping-stone for me was getting the desired MRCP (Member of Royal College of Physicians) degree following a series of theory and practical examination. This entitled you to progress to sub-specialty level training.”
What’s your biggest achievement?
“The biggest achievement so far has been the getting Consultant post in my current specialty, which is Gastroenterology (study of diseases of the digestive system and liver).”
Why is this achievement important to you?
“It signifies the hard work that I had put paid off and this fulfilled my lifelong ambition of becoming a specialist in the field that I have always enjoyed.”
What was the hardest lesson you had to learn?
“The hardest lesson for me was prior to starting medical school. I had various options in front of me, but I wanted to be a doctor. I had 2 very close friends who chose a different career path, so I decided to follow them as I thought it will be great for all friends to be together, even though my heart was saying I should be applying for medicine. I did not get selected for the profession I had applied for, and in the process, lost a valuable year. This made me realise that one should follow their inner instincts rather than do what others are doing.”
What’s your most eccentric hobby or strangest quirk?
“I still like to watch cartoon shows and read comics that I used to during childhood e.g. still love to watch Tom & Jerry, love reading Asterix and Archie comics.”
What career advice would you give someone who wants to follow into the same profession?
“The entry requirements can be tough and competitive; hence it is important to stay focused and do the required hard work. The training can be demanding, but once completed you feel accomplished when you start treating patients yourself after the training. The work is not gloomy at all and there always will be challenges that make your work interesting. At the end of the day you will go home feeling you have helped make a difference.”
What life advice would you give young people?
- Follow your gut feeling/instincts
- Stay focused on what you want to do
- Clarity is extremely important
- Do not get carried away by the distractions of the modern world