Stephen Mowat

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I have just spent two weeks in Tanzania as part of a voluntary scheme to provide surgery to some of the world’s poorest people. It was hard work looking after sick patients with minimal equipment, but what an experience.

Stephen grew up in Lancashire before moving to Newcastle when he went to uni and stayed on for foundation training. Following the obligatory year spent sunning himself on a beach in Australia, Stephen returned to the north east for his speciality training and has just become a consultant.

What made you choose to train in the North East?

The university’s highly rated, the training programme consistently gets rave reviews and there are loads of opportunities to individualise your career. On top of that the landscape’s beautiful, the people are hilarious, the houses are cheap and the beer’s good; what’s not to love?

 

What have you gained from your training here?

I have just spent two weeks in Tanzania as part of a voluntary scheme to provide surgery to some of the world’s poorest people. It was hard work looking after sick patients with minimal equipment, but what an experience. As part of the Northumbria team I was safe and had plenty of local contacts, and while everyone else was freezing in the rain back home I was enjoying the African sunshine…at work!

 

What are the best things about living in this part of the world?

It has everything you need. You can live the city life with all the culture, entertainment and nightlife you would expect. If you like the outdoors there are beaches, mountains and National Parks all over the place. If you have a family it’s safe and the quality of life is excellent. The people are generous and incredibly grateful for their healthcare and the training you get is brilliant.

 

What would you say to anyone considering training in the region?

My training experience has been excellent. The compactness of the city means you get a wide variety of experience, from small district general  hospitals to big tertiary hospitals or research centres like the Centre for Life. However, the best thing about training here is the ability to make your training work for you. You aren’t just a number filling a rota gap, you are treated like a person with individual needs and interests.

 

What are your top three tips for getting the most out of your training in the region?

  1. Get off the conveyor belt. Don’t just wander from university to foundation training and then into a speciality. Take some time to visit different places and see how healthcare is provided around the world. It’s fun and you’ll be a better doctor for it.

  2. Don’t underestimate the district general hospital - you get more time to manage patients yourself and stretch your abilities. It can be daunting but you often learn more from it

  3. Don’t annoy the nurses (or midwives/ODPs/ACCPs etc). For the first few years of your training they could do your job with their eyes closed. Be nice, be respectful, make them a cup of tea! You will reap the benefits.

Describe the region in one word or phrase:

The landscape’s beautiful, the people are hilarious, the houses are cheap and the beer’s good; what’s not to love?

© 2020 NHS Foundation Trusts in the North East and North Cumbria