Dr Laura Campbell
What was your dream career when you were younger?
When I was little, I always loved dressing up in my mum’s clothes and high heels and was obsessed with playing shops. For a long time I imagined owning a dress boutique.
What subjects did you study at school?
I studied a mixture of subjects, including taking after school art classes. However, in my senior years of high school I focused more on the sciences, as required for medicine. I did Higher Human Biology, Maths, Chemistry, English and Modern Studies. I then went on to complete Advanced Higher Chemistry and Biology, Crash Higher Spanish and a Moral Philosophy unit in my 6th year.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration?
Oh that’s a difficult question. I don’t think I have one particular inspiration, instead I have admired certain qualities and work ethic of people that I have met throughout life.
How have the subjects you studied at school helped you in your career?
Medicine is taught building on basic, scientific principles each year. Therefore, having a sound understanding of human biology helped equip me for my first year at university. However, I think that the skills eg, team work, leadership, time management and the confidence that I gained from doing extra-curricular activities, prepared me much more for entering the working world.
Please briefly describe your STEM journey since leaving school.
I mixed things up slightly and went to Queen’s University Belfast. After my second year of Medicine I intercalated and did a BSc Hons in Medical Science, before later completing a total of 6 years at university. One of the great things about Medicine is that you have the opportunity to travel, and so I spent 4 weeks in St Lucia as part of my medical elective. After graduating, I was keen to explore more of the UK and so carried out my foundation training in Bath and Cheltenham. I would highly recommend this as it has enabled me to experience the pros/cons of healthcare systems in different countries, whilst making lifelong friends. As training programme rotas can be quite gruelling, and the wards short staffed, I, like many, felt I needed a break before entering further training, and so have been working as a Trust Grade doctor in the Acute Stroke Unit in Gloucester for the past year but I’m due to start GP training in Glasgow come August.
What skills do you utilise most in your career?
Communication skills and team work are crucial in Medicine as on a daily basis you are helping people from all walks of life. They may be at their most vulnerable, or going through the most difficult times of their lives, including severe illnesses, bereavements, cancer diagnosis’, mental health problems, isolation or housing issues and so you have to be able to be there for them and empathise. Then you work with the multi-disciplinary team to figure out the most optimum treatment and way to move forward.
What advice would you give to any young people considering a STEM career?
Go for it. Try and get work experience early on so you can get a feel for the career and determine if you would genuinely enjoy working in that field. Take your parents’ opinions into consideration but, ultimately, apply for a course that you are interested in, that way you are more likely to excel in it and have a rewarding career. Good luck!