Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

ENT surgeon gives careers talk

09 March 2018

On Tuesday 6 March, girls were treated to an academic lecture from renowned surgeon, Mr Richard Irving. Mr Irving is one of the UK’s leading otologists, a specialist in the study of conditions of the ear, hearing and balance. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and is on the specialist register of the General Medical Council.

In his talk, Mr Irving told us about some fascinating medical cases and what inspired him to embark upon a career in medicine. He informed us of the fast-moving and ever-changing field of medicine, and all the places a medical degree can take you. We were amazed to learn that his current job did not even exist when he applied to medical school! His initial inspiration came from the David Attenborough documentary ‘Life on Earth’, which gave him a passion for biology and a desire to pursue this later in life. After talking to doctors he decided to apply to medical school. He gave tips to those of us who wish to follow a similar career path - and told us that the most successful doctors are honest, empathetic, and have a keen desire to question and to learn.

Mr Irving then presented footage of preparation for surgery during his time spent in Nepal. Conditions there were eye-opening and with only one operating room in which to carry out three operations and the most basic of equipment, it was a demonstration of how the skills of a surgeon can be taken anywhere around the world. He then gave some more examples of cases such as his experience in fixing ocular nerves, dealing with the effects of the Manchester bombing, and cochlear implants. All these cases showed huge diversity and the real impact of medicine on society and the wider world.

Finally, we were fascinated to hear of his work as portrayed on the recent BBC television programme ‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life’, involving delicate surgery to implant a new type of hearing aid.

His talk was highly impressive and helped to provide an in-depth understanding of surgery and a career in medicine, as well as its effects and rewards. We left feeling inspired and motivated to move forward with our future career plans. Thank you, Mr Irving.

Mariam Al-Ani, Year 13

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