Real-life story - Dr Kene Maduemem
Kene knew he wanted to be a paediatrician before he left medical school and is bringing his experience from Nigeria and Ireland to his current registrar role.
How I got into the role
In Nigeria, medical school students have to be present during the junior doctors’ on-call shifts and I always enjoyed paediatrics. I knew I wanted to be a paediatrician before I left medical school even though I saw traumatic things like parents being unable to get the blood products or medication their sick children needed.
I was president of the Federation of Medical and Dental Students of my medical school and organised a community outreach programme on strategies to combat mortality in under-fives. The programme won an award for being the most successful!
After medical school I got a paediatric training post in Nigeria for two years before migrating to Ireland. That was a great experience and I gained different postgraduate diplomas there, before finally getting a training post in England.
What I do
My daily clinical activities depend on the rota. I can be rostered to cover the children’s or neonatal ward or clinics. As the second on call, I hold the bleeps if I am covering the wards and respond to bleeps from the assessment unit, emergency department or labour ward/obstetric theatre, depending on the ward I am covering. I attend resus calls, difficult deliveries and category 1 caesarean sections.
During on-call hours, I will often be the most senior person on ground but with good support from the consultants who readily jump in whenever they are needed. Attending clinics is mandatory and specialist clinics are supervised by consultants.
I like a cup of coffee during morning handovers and, when I’m working 9 to 5, I can dress smartly. But I’m in a pair of trainers if I’m working long days so I can run to different resuscitation bays.
The best bits and challenges
It is a great opportunity to be part of the care of children with chronic medical conditions; understanding and applying holistic care. I love the kids and I’m a ‘get it done’ kind of guy which the consultants seem to like.
Dealing with difficult-to-reassure parents can be tricky sometimes. And as a registrar I’m sometimes the most experienced paediatric doctor and expected to make split second decisions before senior help arrives from the consultants. Although challenging, I believe such scenarios make me a better person and clinician.
Life outside work
I have a big interest in the voluntary humanitarian movement which I have been part of since my medical school days. When I was in Ireland, I was clinical director of a voluntary mission outreach founded by a Nigerian there. In that role, I supervised all the clinical activities during outreach programmes for different communities in Nigeria. The role improved both my personal wellbeing and my understanding of and ability to show empathy to distraught families.
I love shopping and going to the cinema. On the weekends I’m not working, I catch up with my significant other and friends, and have a good laugh over good wine.
Career plans and top tips for others
I aspire to be a paediatric emergency medicine (PEM) consultant and I’m currently enrolled in a Master’s programme in PEM at the University of Edinburgh. It’s a very interesting experience and a way of enriching my knowledge of paediatrics and PEM.
Paediatrics is not a speciality to delve into just because you love children. It goes beyond that and is very emotional and sometimes daunting. It entails dealing with the children, family, school and the community at large.
The main skills you need are patience, perseverance and resilience.