Dr Slovak in the house!
Over the last few months, we have had the pleasure of welcoming Slovakian physician Dr Daniel Slovak to our team on a temporary basis, while he undertakes a period of work experience with us as part of his medical training.
Today on our blog, we catch up with him to find out a bit more about his journey into medicine, what he has learnt about Occupational Health during his time spent working with Medigold Health over the last few months, and what his plans are for the future.
Welcome, Dr Slovak! Thank you for taking some time out of your schedule to chat with us! First things first, could you just briefly tell us where you’re from?
Officially I am a resident of Prague, Czechia, but I was born in Slovakia.
What is it like?
Slovakia is nice, green and small. Most of my close family still live there, and I try to visit a couple of times a year.
What are your qualifications?
I am a medical doctor registered with the Czech Medical Council, but I have not yet started my specialty training. In UK terms it is someone who has finished their foundation training and obtained their full registration with the General Medical Council (GMC).
Tell us why you wanted to get into medicine?
I have wanted to be a psychiatrist since I was 12. I loved science, especially biology, and I wanted to help people. I think there is a common misconception that people who get into medicine do so for the money, but that could not be further away from the truth. First of all, especially as a young doctor, you are usually heavily overworked and underpaid, so there is no money in that (in fact, after I graduated, I found out that I would earn more working as a clerk in a supermarket than I would as a foundation year doctor in Czechia). However, that’s something they don’t tell you when you apply for medical school.
Secondly, I can vouch that the large majority of my classmates got into medicine, like me, because of their innate sense of wanting to help others. It can sometimes be hard to hang on to that when faced with the everyday realities of working in healthcare (the lack of resources, long hours, and high levels of stress), which can make it difficult to perform the role you trained for to the best of your ability. But wanting to carry on making people better and helping them to live healthier, happier lives is ultimately what keeps you doing this job, not the wages.
Why are you considering a career in Occupational Health?
It’s the broad scope of occupational medicine that fascinates me; it encompasses everything from vibrational injuries to toxicology and psychiatry. As an Occupational Health Physician, you get to help patients with all kinds of medical problems, and you have so much choice when it comes to which area you want to specialise in. Compared to the NHS, the private sector also offers a very nurturing environment for their employees. At least, that’s what I have observed within Medigold Health.
What other areas interest you?
I love psychiatry, general practice, ophthalmology, internal medicine and paediatrics. These were my favourite classes during medical school.
How are you finding shadowing at Medigold Health?
I’ve found it very fascinating! As well as everything I’ve learned about Occupational Health, I’ve also been really impressed by the company culture and your attitude towards your employees. I think I asked almost everyone I had a chance to meet how they were finding working for Medigold Health (off the record, of course!) and everyone had only positive feedback. I like seeing a healthcare provider like Medigold Health who prioritises the satisfaction and wellbeing of their staff.
What do you do outside of work?
Outside of work I love spending time with friends and family, and I am obsessed with CrossFit and music. I try to go to CrossFit classes five to six times a week as I slowly overcome my own back injury (I have massively herniated L4/L5 and L5/S1 discs, which is sometimes challenging). I am also an indie musician/ artist, but nowadays I am focusing more on production and writing. I am actually currently looking for management, because sometimes it gets overwhelming. However, I am immensely grateful for all the opportunities I have.
What is next for Dr Slovak?
I am not sure. If you find out, please let me know, haha! I must say I really like working in pharmacovigilance, but during my work experience with Medigold Health I’ve realised that I also truly miss clinical medicine and being with patients.
Occupational Health seems like a very good option if I decide I would like to work part-time in both fields, as an OH Physician and a Pharmacovigilance Physician.
I’ve also really enjoyed living in the UK; I can see myself settling down here and being based between London and Prague.
Currently, I am researching my options. I plan on attending a Faculty of Medicine (FOM)-approved Diploma of Occupational Medicine (DOccMed) training course this November and getting the Diploma next year.
I would definitely like to stay in touch with Medigold Health, because if I decide to look for a job as an OHP it’s one of the first companies I’d like to work for. It seems like a good, nurturing environment and I’d feel privileged if you’d consider my application.
And of course, during evenings and weekends I’ll still be creating music I love. We’ll see how everything works out. You never know what’s round the corner, but that’s what makes life exciting!
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