Jeremy Hughes, Professor

Professor Hughes was the first from his school to study medicine

Tell us about your experience of getting into medicine

I was the first student to study Medicine from my school which was focussed more on vocational subjects such as woodwork and technical drawing. A supportive chemistry teacher suggested that I apply for Cambridge. He gave me some books to study in my spare time for the Cambridge University entrance exam and I was awarded a place. I had no work experience of any sort to back up my application as, unlike now, this was just not available to students like me from working class areas. I simply knew that I wanted to study Medicine and just did my best at the interview! Looking back, I do believe that interview panels then were simply keen to find the best students. [Note: work experience is necessary to make an application now]

What is being a doctor (or med student) like?

Being a doctor is a very enjoyable and rewarding career but it is undoubtedly hard work. During my training as a junior doctor I worked horribly long hours but this has improved significantly. I am an academic kidney doctor and I therefore have multiple roles: clinical work (out-patients and ward work), research (laboratory and clinical studies), student teaching (medical, science and PhD students) and lots of other things such as working for national charities, medical school administration etc. As a result I do work long hours and at weekends but much of this is through choice. It is privilege to look after patients and I really enjoy my clinic and ward rounds. I am often humbled by the stoicism of patients in the face of real adversity and it is very rewarding when you see seriously ill patients get better and go home.