Meet Nicola R.
Doctor (Consultant in Oncology at the Royal Marsden)
Art by Ameana Khan, Anaesthetic Registrar
(HLA Scholar 2020-2021)
St Bartholomew’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
I am Jewish and was born in the UK to parents who are first generation British. Both my parents were born in the UK but each of both of their parents came from countries where the Jewish population was all but annihilated by the Nazis. My maternal grandparents were both the sole survivors from 8 siblings each. Both families came to the UK to escape the effects of Nazi Germany and arrived in the 1930s.
I’ve faced in my career have been to do with requirements of Jewish life and balancing them against work. For example there are many festivals in September/ October each year and, although the days of the festival vary from year to year, the same days of the week are effected on any given year. This makes it very difficult to take annual leave for all of them as clinical commitments tend to run on a weekly rotating basis so repeated absence on a given day for 3 out of 6 weeks is challenging. It means I’ve missed many of the festival days with my family.
In addition I keep to a kosher diet and kosher food is not usually available at work events such as conferences etc. and not being able to eat with others is somewhat excluding. Challenges as a mother would be the feeling of guilt of missing out either at work or at home but when the balance is right it is an amazingly rewarding life.
Take home message
I would send to other women is to stand up for yourself and don’t discriminate against other women (or men!). We need to all look after one another in this work and try and reduce each others stresses.