Stuart Falconer, ST7 Transplant/HPB Surgery

With encouragement and hard work, Stuart made it to medicine

Tell us about your experience of getting into medicine

Coming from a very humble background I genuinely didn’t encounter too much trouble getting into medical school. I had known from quite a young age that I wanted to be a doctor and so spent my time in school working towards that. I suppose my greatest opponent was myself, in believing that I could actually do it. My parents divorced when I was 8 and I was raised by my mum along with my 2 brothers and a sister. Having always lived in a council house as a child, we suddenly found ourselves in need of temporary accommodation which ranged from B&B to temporary ‘homeless’ flats for the better part of a year until we got a council house for us all. My mum always encouraged us to do well in school and despite some upset following my parent’s separation I knuckled down at school and did well in my exams. My teachers were all very supportive as was my GP who let me go with her on weekend surgeries and school holidays. She wrote me a wonderful reference to support my application to medical school and I applied to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. I got offered a place in both Glasgow and Aberdeen and I accepted Glasgow as it was my first choice. I have to be honest, no one ever said, Stuart being a doctor isn’t something you can realistically hope to achieve, everyone supported me and helped in any way they could.

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

Being a doctor is wonderful, it is without doubt the best job in the whole world. Because at the heart of it all, a person’s health and ultimately their life is the most important thing to them and their families. Money, success, power, fame all counts for very little without your health and as a doctor you get to directly influence people’s health and help them when they fall ill. Making a difference to someone, whether it is just seeing the antibiotics you prescribe for a chest infection make someone better or performing a liver transplant, has a thrill that is hard to find anywhere else. You have made a difference to someone, and they will never forget that. You will meet many interesting people, old, young and everything in between and they all have a story (in some cases several stories) to tell. You will meet someone for the first time and they will trust you with their most intimate and personal information which is a huge responsibility, sometimes disclosing information to you they have never told another soul. Medicine can be very tough at times and stressful and exhausting and there are days where you can see it far enough. But ultimately you know that it is the best job in the world and the bad days are easily eclipsed by the good ones a thousand times over. If it is what you want to do, then go for it. If you have the drive and passion and determination to succeed, you will.

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