Sunday, 24 May 2015

Dr. Anjana Sinha - UK based Gynaecologist and Obstetrician

Imagine a situation – you are born in a family with humble means in a traditional Indian family setup– and a soothsayer tells your parents – “your child is not bright enough, will not do anything academically and can barely pass secondary school”. Imagine the sheer self-determination, strong will power you need to not only prove everyone wrong, but to really come out meritorious in your secondary exams and eventually become a prominent medical practitioner in UK.
 It’s our pleasure and honor to get an opportunity to talk to Dr. Anjana Sinha, a leading medical practitioner in London, who has fought all odds in life right from early days, settling in a new country, raising a family and establishing her own clinic in UK. A lady who strongly believes that “self determination can propel you to achieve anything” – learnt scuba diving and skiing at the age of 50..!!

Dr. Anjana Sinha

Tell us about yourself, your family, background as a doctor: education and experience. What are your specialties/ expertise?
Firstly, I am humbled to have been considered in the league of women achievers. It would be really great, if my career progression can be motivational to someone.

I am a doctor who comes from a humble background with 3 sisters and a brother. My dad is a retired professor and mum a retired school teacher. A fortune teller had told my dad that I would be the weakest of all his kids with regards to educational achievements and I always wanted to prove him wrong. He had said I would be lucky if I passed my secondary school examination. No offence to him but I made myself to the newspapers and was interviewed on the national radio with my secondary school results as I stood second in Bihar. It was bit of luck;bit of blessings and of course my determination. This I would say was the first trigger for me to do my best and achieve something.

I graduated and then specialised in Obs and Gynae from PMCH in 1992 and then moved to the UK with my husband and 2 kids in 1997. New country, new people, new culture and lack of support-was pretty tough and I can tell you particularly with 2 kids it can be very taxing. My husband gave me couple of pounds and the bus number to the hospital. I reached there to see a consultant for a job. Once again it was my determination; I managed to convince him that I was the right one and secured the job.
Job in the UK hospitals in Obs and gyne department, especially, if you have a family and a further exam to take for career progression is no joke. It was a tough time but with hard work and family support I cleared my exams without any problems. I used to tell my child unless I go to work I won’t be able to pass my exams. When my MRCOG result came out my son was the happiest child in the world and said, mum won’t have to work anymore!! Needless to say,that his happiness didn’t last long. I worked in Obs and Gynecology as a specialist registrar for 7 years and then decided to be a general practitioner. More studies, more exams but, here I am, working as a GP with special interest in Gynecology. I am also a GP trainer and also a trainer in family planning.


At a conference in Beijing

Why did you choose this career? Why did you choose this specialty?
The choice of my career wasn’t tough at all. My younger sister had a very poor health and I had seen my dad on the doctor’s doorstep every few days. I had felt my sister’s sufferings; I had the appreciation of doctor’s ability to help people, which is what I wanted to do in my life - helping people, caring for them. I never chose any specialty. Luckily I got honours in Obs and Gynae in my final MBBS exam and, all my well-wishers started pestering me to be a gynaecologist. To tell you the truth I wanted to be a cardiologists but my dad’s cardiologist friend said, no, it’s a men’s world. Don’t let your daughter step in. I do not it though. I have enjoyed every second of my professional life.

What are you career goals?
I would like to continue developing as a clinician at every opportunity. I keep myself up to date with the latest developments in medicine. At the end of every day I ask this question to myself what have I learnt today. What did I do well? What didn’t go so well and how I can improve.

How do you handle workload stress and emergency situations?
I organise my work and time very well. Try to prioritise my work and delegate some of my jobs to appropriate people, if possible.
In emergency situation I just take a deep breath, and think to myself I have no choice but to keep calm and carry on.

Describe your day to day activities, priorities and tasks.
I work for roughly 10-12 hours a day in my clinic. Rest of the time I look after my family and my house. I love gardening, I talk to my plants, ask their where-abouts at least twice a day–first thing in the morning and when I am back from work. I feel incredibly happy to see my seeds sprout and then I count their leaves everyday!!

Dr. Anjana with her family

Describe your most successful accomplishments.
My most successful accomplishment would be to be able to strike such a fine balance between family and professional life is that I could establish myself as a GP with my own clinic in a foreign country while at the same time could devote time with family to the extent that my son broke all previous records in UK in school exams.

As a doting mother on son's achievement
At her clinic with her colleagues on her 50th Birthday

What are the key challenges in this field for women? What are your personal challenges?
Maintaining work life balance is the main one. Medicine is a continuously evolving field and it can sometimes be difficult for women to embrace all the changes and keeping them up to date, considering their other roles in the family and personal life. Some women in my situation also experience differential treatment but I have been lucky in this respect. My personal challenges are mainly around finding time to do things which I would love to do and learn things outside my profession, such as, scuba diving. Having said that at the age of nearly 50, I learnt skiing!! So age is no bar to learn anything – however risky or physically taxing that may be.
Lastly, what is one advice that you would like to give young women out there who are thinking of taking medical as a profession?
Medical profession needs commitment and a caring attitude. If you think you have these go for it! You will never regret.

1 comment:

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