Welcome to another special Careers episode of the Let's talk surgery podcast for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Today, we're speaking to some cardiothoracic surgeons: Edward Caruana (cardiothoracic trainee), Gill Hardman (cardiothoracic ST7), and Sridhar Rathinam (consultant thoracic surgeon).
Sridhar Rathinam is a consultant thoracic surgeon and senior lecturer in the University Hospitals of Leicester. He is the education secretary for Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery for Great Britain and Ireland (SCTS) and chair of the Cardiothoracic Surgical specialty Board, for the RCSEd. He has a special interest in emphysema and volume production and sarcoma and is passionate about training and education. He was inspired to become a doctor as a child by his uncle, who was also a surgeon. He is passionate about performing surgery and working closely with patients through their often difficult journeys.
Gill Hardman is a cardiac registrar based in Health Education England Northwest, and is currently taking three years out of programme working on her PhD in cardiothoracic transplantation. Her main interests are medical education, training, human factors, non-technical skills and psychology, especially how surgeons think and behave. Gill is a member of the RCSEd Trainees Committee and recently joined the Women in Surgery subcommittee of the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. Like Sridhar, Gill has wanted to be a surgeon since she was a child. For Gill, the beauty of cardiac surgery is in the repeated achievement of this highly skilled, complex surgery.
Edward Caruana is a trainee from the Southeast Midlands nearing completion of training in thoracic surgery. He is a keen advocate for maximising training opportunities across the spectrum of practice, and has served as a member of the Regional Training Committee for Cardiothoracic Surgery at Health Education East Midlands, and on the Cardiothoracic Surgical Specialty Board at the RCSEd. Unlike our other guests he got into cardiothoracic surgery “by accident and through a little bit of luck”, following a chance meeting with an inspirational cardiac surgeon at a conference in Croatia.
In this frank discussion the panel openly discuss some of the challenges of cardiothoracics, including the historic lack of diversity, its sometimes difficult relationship with other specialties, the high-powered perception of cardiothoracic surgeons and the difficulties of balancing home and work commitments. However, all of our guests share a passion for their specialty, their teams and their patients, describing their work as an integral part of their life. It’s very apparent that theirs is a vocation and their determination and dedication is inspirational.
The advice from our panel to those who wish to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery is to start preparing early, focus on any opportunities for exposure to the specialty and reach out directly to colleagues in cardiothoracic surgery.
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