Andrew Storey, Consultant

Medicine offers travel and teaching

Tell us about your experience of getting into medicine

I did well at school but wasn’t sure until quite late on what I wanted to study at university. Fortunately the Scottish education system affords the opportunity to keep options open and after my 5th year at high school I had a broad range of Highers that meant I could apply for any university course. I was leaning towards my strongest school subjects of maths or physics but my father (not himself a doctor) encouraged me to do medicine, highlighting that it was a stable career that would always be a ‘meal ticket’, would allow me to travel if I wished and would give the job satisfaction of helping others. He also emphasised the high regard that the public holds for the medical profession, and that I would always be trusted as an upstanding citizen in life if I was a doctor. I left school after 5th year and spent the next year at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college in Skye, where I took the opportunity to hone my spoken Gaelic while doing an HNC in information technology. I applied for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and was offered places at all three. I chose Glasgow.

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

Being a doctor is an incredible privilege. To be ‘let in’ to people’s lives in the way that we are as doctors, to see the full spectrum of society on a daily basis is still a great thrill for me even after 21 years as a doctor. I’ve had the opportunity to work all over Scotland and also spent a year working in Melbourne, Australia. I have been grateful over the years for the structure that a medical career gives to my life – I might have easily floundered with lack of direction had I not studied medicine. Working for the NHS and knowing that all patients are treated equally is particularly fulfilling. I chose a career in hospital medicine partly because I enjoyed the social buzz of working with a great number of professional colleagues from various backgrounds. I’ve been fortunate to become formally involved with medical education and it’s a terrific privilege to try to inspire the next generation of doctors – I’ve discovered that I enjoy teaching as much as I enjoy my clinical duties. A career in medicine offers such a plethora of different opportunities and everyone should be able to find the particular branch that suits them best.