Nicholas Cereceda Monteolivia is a medical student at Imperial College London. Read how Nicholas made the decision to study medicine, what he did to make sure medicine was right for him and how he has found medicine at Imperial.
It is hard to find a single moment that sparked an interest in medicine. Although they were never a conscious influence, the few doctors in my extended family may have inspired the idea.
When illness hit my immediate family, I saw first hand what an influence good care could have on a patient and those around them. So, I thought I too would like to make such a difference to people’s lives, at a time of need, of worry and illness.
Furthermore, medicine was a well-known academic challenge, mentioned frequently as a deterrent by teachers at school warning against the perils of such a demanding career. Perhaps this also stirred defiance in me to prove them wrong!
What steps did you take next?
Work experience gave me the chance to confirm a growing intrigue.
At my local hospital I observed clinics, ward rounds and procedures in different specialities, seeing the skills doctors routinely employed.
I was impressed how shrewd and sensitive doctors are when approaching, communicating with and examining patients. Working in inter-disciplinary teams within radiology and the laboratory, for example, added another dimension to the job.
At a second work experience, I saw open-heart surgery. The heart, exposed, beating in its full glory, was awe-inspiring; peering into the chest cavity revealed the beautiful way in which many components of human anatomy combine to perform a given function.
And the moral dilemmas faced everyday as a medic were fascinating. At the very least I established that medicine did not disgust me!
How has medical school matched your expectations?
Medicine, although bloody and smelly and inglorious at times, is not disgusting.
It is a unique and highly privileged student experience, allowing students to experience healthcare on the front-line while still learning the underlying theories and concepts.
The variety of subjects we have studied over the first five years of the course is astounding.
Admittedly, the high demands of the course are noticeable, reflected in the lack of time I now afford myself for the hobbies and pursuits that I used to love.
What about the future?
I’m looking forward to the transition from student to Junior Doctor, specifically the increased responsibility and expectations that will accompany it.
There is growing respect and appreciation for your role within the team as you progress through the levels of seniority.
Meeting other like-minded graduates from other medical schools will be exciting and earning a salary will be a relief.
Although I am yet to decide which specialty is my passion, finally starting the career that I decided to pursue so long ago will feel long overdue.