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Life as a Medic

Dr Chinedum Arize: Struggles of a Trainee Surgeon

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Dr Arize is a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, currently pursuing a career in Orthopaedic Surgery in the UK and Ireland. In this article he gives us a glimpse into the challenging everyday life of an Orthopaedic Surgeon working in the National Pelvic and Acetabular Centre for the Republic of Ireland.

The road to becoming a surgeon is demanding and filled with obstacles that either break or define you. In order to reach the end of the road, determination, hard work and consistency are important skills one needs to possess. Before I delve into typical experiences in the life of a surgeon, I would like to share a little bit about myself.

I am one of 5 kids born to Nigerian Parents, both very successful professionals in their respective fields.  Their unyielding generosity and belief in my potential has pushed me to pursue my goals without fail.

In order to reach the end of the road, determination, hard work and consistency are important skills one needs to possess

So, my road to becoming a surgeon began when I left Nigeria at the age of 18 to continue my studies in the Republic of Ireland. I spent the next 9 months getting over my homesickness and pushing myself to attain maximum grades in the National Irish Board Examinations to get accepted into the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Looking on 6 years later, after sitting uncountable clinical and theoretical examinations, I graduated as a Medical Doctor in 2015. I subsequently completed my internship and embarked on my journey to become an Orthopaedic Surgeon. It’s safe to say that I am still on the road swerving through major obstacles with the finish line years ahead. That being said, I would like to share my daily experiences as a trainee surgeon with you.

First of all, I start my morning bright and early by going to the gym for a high-intensity 30-minute work out usually at 5:30 am. I make sure to incorporate physical activity into my daily routine. This is important as it helps me kick start my body and mind. When I get to work, I am mentally and physically prepared to get through my day. My weekly duties involve Outpatient fracture clinics, operating theatre time, on-call shifts and protected teaching time. 

On a typical day when I am scheduled to be in the operating theatre, we begin with organized ward rounds at 7:30, reviewing our inpatients and subsequently preparing the new patients for theatre. My hospital is the national Pelvic and Acetabular Centre for the Republic of Ireland. On a weekly basis, patients with pelvic and acetabular injuries that require surgery are transferred from hospitals around the country for surgical treatment.

My daily activities vary. On one occasion in theatre, we had made plans to operate on a lady who was involved in a serious accident after falling off a horse while on holidays. The day before, I had to speak to the transferring hospital to make sure she was appropriately stabilized prior to transfer. Her pelvic injuries were substantial and she had to undergo a two-stage operation to fix her acetabulum. We also performed other operations like fixation of a broken wrist, hip, and tibia. These operations are very interesting because they requires great understanding of anatomy, physiology and the ability to view the human body in a three-dimensional frame of mind. All my patients require multidisciplinary input with expert Nursing care, Physiotherapy, and Occupational therapy to help regain function. The most satisfying part of this job is seeing patients recover from such debilitating injuries with little or no residual defects.

My shift usually ends at 17:00 unless we have a busy trauma list or I am on call. I spend my spare time indulging in various hobbies of mine, which include traveling around the world and experiencing different cultures, appreciating art, organizing events with my friends and playing football with my local team. I am very privileged to be given the opportunity to help people and I try to embrace it as much as I can.

The most satisfying part of this job is seeing patients recover from such debilitating injuries with little or no residual defects.

Dr Chinedum Arize

The author Dr Chinedum Arize

Dr Arize is a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, currently pursuing a career in Orthopedic Surgery in the UK and Ireland.

1 Comment

  1. This article really inspired me… I’m an aspiring medical student and I hope that when I eventually get into medical school and graduate, I will be able to get this satisfying feeling from treating patients and also take some electives with your group

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