After graduating from the University of Plymouth in 2020, I'm currently working at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, where the COVID-19 vaccine is being developed.
My 5 years at university were very happy times. I look back fondly on every session with the fantastic clinical skills team, the all-nighters to get Special Study Units finished and the celebrations after final year clinical skills exams. I got very involved with the other activities that Plymouth had to offer too – Dartmoor runs, beach walks, teaching the younger years and collaborations with other degrees.
During my years at University, I researched the history of women in medicine, including Dr Rosa Bale, the first female Doctor and GP in the South-West of England. On International Women’s Day, I was invited to unveil a plaque to rename the John Bull lecture theatre in her honour. I implore all students who study within that lecture theatre to read up on her life!
My University experience came to an abrupt end due to the pandemic and I graduated early, joining NHS frontline staff on a respiratory ward. It was an honour and a privilege to step up during the pandemic, help colleagues and care for patients. It was a scary time for us all; however I felt confident and capable as a result of working hard throughout my degree.
The hardest part about being a Doctor is the stress of work and having situations stick in your mind even when the working day is done. It is always useful to speak about your emotions and I find that as soon as I have discussed the situation, I usually feel much better about it.
I am unsure what the future holds for me career-wise and am sure that life will lead me up some unexpected avenues. At the moment I am considering Neurology, however as a student I really loved the fast-paced Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth and the really inspiring staff there who were great teachers.
I am in touch with many people from my time at University; the friends I met and the lecturers who have since become friends. I will forever be grateful to the University of Plymouth for the best years of my life so far. I have grown and matured into the person, and professional, I always wanted to be. I am very proud to be Dr Abigail Lewis and a Plymouth graduate.