The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and a passionate training surgeon called Alice Hartley started a campaign to highlight the culture of bullying that can occur at all levels of training in surgery. I was asked to speak out and back the campaign. As a mentor to trainees and the only female general surgeon in the Trust, I took this role very seriously.
I didn’t realize that the passion I felt about bullying arose in me as a result of my childhood. Only now as I mature, I’m able to process and rationalize my emotions. I can now see why I have so little tolerance for it. I had a great childhood, but sometimes the playground was a tough place in my much younger days, aged around 9. Now my eldest is 9 years old and I see her vibrancy and confidence and couldn’t bear it if she ever told me she was being bullied.
Now I have the strength and the power to make it different for someone else. Only now I see that;
1. It’s not all about exhibiting a strong exterior and becoming the stereotypical surgeon
2. The most memorable people are those who break the mould and are original
3. It’s ok to promote others and take them with you up the ladder
4. It’s not ok to wake up and hate going to work because you feel you’ll be in the way
5. It’s good to laugh at yourself, watch junk t.v.and listen to grime and house music
You must learn to change the terrain of your behaviour to suit all circumstances. Some however, don’t and it’s a shame.
I love it when I’m told “you’re not a typical surgeon, you’re nice” – one day it’ll be “you’re not a typical surgeon – you’re mean!’ One day eh?!