On Thursday the 17th of January, I was lucky enough to shadow the chief medical officer, Dr. Frank Atherton, in his duties as CMO. As someone who has aspirations to study medicine in the future, this really was an extraordinary opportunity.
In the morning, I attended the Healthy Weight Strategy Launch event where I co-chaired with Dr. Atherton and also gave a short speech on my perceptions of how young people make decisions in regards to health. The platform to voice my opinions and be the voice for young people was an honour I shall never forget! I also introduced the Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething. The morning gave me insight into the events the CMO must attend but it also provided me with up to date information on the new consultation document which is in place to try and make Wales a healthier place. It was great to be surrounded by so many people who, like me, care so much about the health of our country and individuals who are actively involved in making changes to improve our society.
After the event, I was taken to Dr. Atherton’s office where the day continued to educate and inspire me! One thing which put me off Dr. Atherton’s job was the fact that he doesn’t get much, if any, patient contact. However, Dr. Atherton redefined what I perceive to be patient contact. He told me that whereas a doctor sees one patient at a time, Dr. Atherton has 3 million! This demonstrated to me the importance of public health, in a way which I had perhaps never thought about before.
My day as Deputy CMO was certainly one I will never forget due to its content and all the invaluable lessons and tips I have learnt which will remain with me as I move forward in my goal to study medicine- the day certainly wasn’t your average work experience. Meeting with several of Dr. Atherton’s colleagues, I discovered the range of career options available in science and public health.
A special thank you to everyone who helped make the day as amazing as it was and of course to Dr. Atherton who allowed me to take his job for the day.
Y Pant School