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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

SWIMS Inaugural Conference

It's happened.

The moment we've all been waiting for….

The SWIMS Inaugural Conference.

For those of you new to the scene SWIMS - that is, 'Sensible Women in Medicopolitics and Medicine Society' - is for female medical students and doctors who say NO to negative stereotypes of what is required to be a successful female physician/scientist and say YES to championing the positive female role model in these positions. A big part of this for me has always been the 'non-formal' time you have together, to share your experiences and have a good old dollop of reflection.

Of course, a wood burner and a pair of wellies go a long way to making this an even more excellent activity.

It was a real privilege to spend the weekend with a group of ladies who have gone from being work colleagues to good friends. These things are always particularly valuable when things are challenging - I am absolutely loving my lab work at the moment (despite the fact nothing is working. Or as my supervisor put it: 'Things aren't working… but at least they're not working quickly!') but the balance between this and the clinical bits that need to keep ticking over is tough to say the least. I'm currently trying to balance full days in the lab with one-and-a-half quality improvement projects, an audit that needs tying up and psyching myself up for round two of my post-grad medical exams.  Alongside a part-time Masters and funding applications for next year, and that's before you even address your personal life, it's a little mind boggling. The phrase 'jack of all trades, master of none' springs to mind.

It's no secret that combining a clinical and a research career can be difficult, not forgetting all my favourite female challenges and this kind of media nonsense, but sanity seems a long way away.  I guess it feels doable when you feel so passionately about each of the things you are doing. The creative joy of learning in the lab is cleaning out my brain nicely, and learning to juggle is something you just have to get used to.

And hey, this is what SWIMS is for - how do you balance all these things? I think crucially, part of the balance is making sure you leave time for things like our lovely conference. Which I hope you've gathered by now was not so much a conference as a chance to catch up with excellent friends.




Big love to my fellow SWIM-ers