Career Stories - Dr Bernadeta Bridgwood
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Dr Bernadeta Bridgwood

Academic and research GP, Midlands

I took a convoluted route into medicine. Growing up in a deprived area of Staffordshire, going to university and doing medicine were things that people ‘didn’t do’. However, as I was very interested in the human body and the way it works, I applied and was accepted into university to read biology and chemistry. I was later invited to do a PhD in inorganic chemistry, focusing on medicinal aspects. After these degrees, I worked within a university as a business manager. During this time, I was introduced to graduate entry medicine and after some time preparing, I completed the application process and was accepted to read graduate entry medicine.

University life was tough yet exhilarating. The course was condensed, with lots of new knowledge, assessments and clinical experience. It was great to meet other colleagues from a range of backgrounds and life experience.

During my foundation years, I learned how to apply clinical knowledge and consultation skills. I enjoyed all of my placements which made the decision of ‘what to do for the rest of my life’ very difficult. I decided to go into GP – this offered the flexibility and variability to incorporate important direct patient contact, cultivate my research ideas, forward interest in medical education and explore other horizons.

I accepted a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded post titled academic clinical fellowship in primary care. This allowed me to sit on the interface between academia and general practice. I am able to see the challenges within healthcare and have the opportunity to undertake research into areas which aim to positively impact these issues. I have also been taught multiple research skills/methods within a master’s degree. I’ve developed and undertaken several research projects and had the opportunity to present at national and international meetings and conferences.

I have been privileged to meet many inspirational people along my journey. One encounter led me to volunteer on a subcommittee of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) for global health to oversee international exchange opportunities for GP trainees and early-career GPs. I have taken the opportunity to act as a local training program representative for my local Health Education England (HEE) GP training and education committee. I have been involved in medical education within a range of environments. I am also co-developing a local academic research network for junior researchers. Through these opportunities, I have developed organisational, management and leadership skills.

General practice is a privileged speciality which allows doctors to have continuity of access to patients and their families within the community and work with dynamic multi-disciplinary team members across primary and secondary care. The speciality enables doctors to shape their careers through pursuing a variety of skills and interests. Who knows where it will take me!

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