Let's Talk Surgery: The RCSEd Podcast

Let's Talk Surgery Podcast, Surgical Crossroads: Choosing your specialty - the Plastic Surgery episode

August 16, 2021 RCSEd Season 8 Episode 2
Let's Talk Surgery: The RCSEd Podcast
Let's Talk Surgery Podcast, Surgical Crossroads: Choosing your specialty - the Plastic Surgery episode
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Welcome to another episode of our Surgical Crossroads series with hosts Gregory Ekatah and Sadie Khwaja. Today we explore a career in plastic surgery.

Jeremy Rodriguez is a consultant plastic surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire and an Associate Professor at Warwick Clinical Trials Unit. He describes how he “stumbled across” plastics as a specialty and is fascinated by the diversity and complexity of procedures. During his training he travelled and worked extensively, which enriched and challenged his clinical practice. His role is split between clinical work and his research on psychometrics: improving and using patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). He reflects on the potential for conflict between these two roles and stresses the importance of having a system in place in order to deliver on research commitments. 

Sarah Chadwick is a plastics specialty trainee in the North West deanery. She trained at Sheffield University School of Medicine and qualified in 2004. She originally wanted to be a paediatric surgeon, but preferred the variety of plastics and having the option to treat patients from ‘cradle to grave’. Sarah took a slightly longer training pathway after taking time out to have children and undertake a PhD, however she has found plastics as a specialty to be flexible and supportive of less than full time training. Sarah is hoping to complete her training towards the end of 2022 and is currently applying for fellowships. She is interested in pursuing a career in microsurgery, particularly breast and lower limb reconstruction. 

Our medical student is Sakiinah Mungroo, a recent graduate from the University of Manchester. She is originally from Mauritius and came to the UK to study Medicine on a full scholarship. Her passion for plastic surgery stemmed from her own personal experiences; in 2013, she had severe burn injuries that required grafting. This inspired her to undertake a career in that specialty, with a particular interest in burns care, to make a difference in the lives of burns patients. Sakina is an active junior member of BAPRAS and attends the conferences every year. She has also presented at national and international conferences and founded the Plastic Surgery Society at the University of Manchester.  She will be starting her foundation year training at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. 

Plastics is a particularly competitive specialty so taking a similar approach to Sakina is recommended to boost your CV. You can find a wealth of trainee resources by joining the Plastic Surgery Trainees Association (PLASTA), https://www.plasta.org

Our guests all display the typical characteristics of successful plastic surgeons – tenacity, resilience, motivation and enthusiasm. They also highlight the diverse thinking that is key in a field that often has new bespoke problems and patients that need bespoke solutions.

Contact Information
Visit https://www.rcsed.ac.uk/ for further information and details on becoming a member. 

Email: [email protected] for any questions or topic suggestions you may have for future episodes. 

This show is brought to you by the RCSEd. Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. Hosted by Greg Ekatah, Sesi Hotonu and Sadie Khwaja produced and directed by Heather Pownall of Heather's Media Hub Ltd


Introducing the topic and guests for this episode.
[Sadie Khwaja – Jeremy Rodriguez] Let's start with Jeremy. Jeremy, obviously you’ve reached that epitaph of being a consultant. What was that journey like? Where did you start your career?
[SK – JR] That’s quite a dizzying amount of travelling! What’s different about that, and what’s the benefit do you think?
[SK – JR] So you settled in Stoke Mandeville, but did you move straight into an academic job ‘half-and-half’?
[SK – JR] When you say the differences, what do you feel are the differences [between academic and clinical work]?
[SK – JR] Give us an example of what your week looks like.
[SK – JR] Are you a clinician or a researcher? Can you say one or the other, or are you split 50/50?
[SK – JR] It sounds very much a busy timetable finding that balance, as you're saying. So, work life balance for you – how does that work?
[Greg Ekatah – JR] Is there much of a tension between the research hat and your clinical commitments, either elective or emergency?
[GE – JR] Generally what are your research interests?
[GE – JR] What are the not-so-great things about plastic surgery?
[GE – Sarah Chadwick] When Jeremy was talking about the length of training and how other people are progressing past you, you were furiously nodding at that. Clearly that’s something that resonates with you.
[GE – SC] Are you full time or less than full time?
[GE – SC] What was it like when you came back mid-ST5 or after ST5 and said to the deanery, you wanted to be less than the full time. From a deanery point of view, was there much support for it? And from a specialty point of view, how was that received?
[GE – SC] What was the appeal or draw of plastic surgery for you?
[SK – SC] I always think that plastics is the new general in a sense that it's incorporating head to toe, isn't it? And as you say newborns to elderly, and it encompasses quite a lot of sub-specialist areas as well now, doesn't it?
[SK – SC] Sakina is keen to have a career in plastics. What advice would you give her?
[SK – SC] And what kind of opportunities are there for somebody like Sakina for filling that CV up?
[SK – JR] Have you got any tips for somebody starting out?
[SK – Sakina Mungroo] Fill us in on where you are with your journey.
[SK – SM] And what brings you to us? Because when we called out for people who were interested in a career in plastics, you were very keen to come. So, what makes you keen on plastics?
[SK – SM] What things have you explored whilst you've been through medical school to show your interest in plastics?
[SK – All] Just to explore a little bit of personality … it sounds a very varied type of person who goes into plastics; is that true?
37.50 [SK – JR] That moves us on nicely to look at the future of plastics. And what does the next decade look like?
39.22 [GE – SC] What was training like in plastic surgery during COVID times?
[GE – JR] What was it like for you as a consultant plastic surgeon or in your department through COVID? Also, you touched on the efficiencies that are going to be required as we come out of it. Do you see an impact of that on training as you move forward?
[SK – SC] As you approach the end of your training have you got ideas of where you're going and what you want to do?
[GE – All] The final question to you all is you are on a desert island and you have to take with you one surgical instrument and one non-surgical instrument. Which ones would you take it?