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  • Writer's pictureNDUK

My journey into Dermatology.

Author: Undeclared. I came into this country [UK] knowing I wanted to do Dermatology but didn’t know how or where to begin. I was mostly told about how competitive it was. I eventually found the British Association of Dermatology (BAD) website and booked myself into a conference. I got the clear vibe in that conference, that it was way out of my league, a very white-topped mountain and I left very discouraged.

Knowing about RLMT (pre-2000), I knew the chances of [attaining] a training space for round 2, were mostly slim. Therefore, I entered IMT program, borrowing myself some sense and settling for other alternative Group 2 medical specialties. It wasn’t until I saw a post of NDUK where Dr K.A gave his testimonial, Iate Dec 2000, that I had a living, breathing account of a black - IMG matching into Dermatology. I made contact with him immediately still quite unsure. Being a gracious and complete gentleman, he was all too eager to help. There began my journey of hope. Till today, I have never met him face-to-face; but he has spent hours on phone guiding, instructing, leading and correcting me. The first step is to build up a good well-rounded CV. Starting IMT, I think I may have had 25 points, but for Dermatology, you need about 40 points to be shortlisted. I also developed a backup portfolio for infectious diseases program alongside my preparation for dermatology. Determination, hard work and collaboration with colleagues is the key. Here are some things I did: Academic: 1. Audit: Management of atopic eczema, QIP lead: 2 cycles in Cellulitis management pathway. 2. Teaching: RCP Educator organised by RCP London equivalent to PG Diploma in Med education. 3. Teaching experience: Some series of teaching for Dermatology for Ambulatory care Clinical teaching fellow experience: 4. Publication: 3 Case reports including 1 Dermatology and 1 Infectious Disease topics. 5. A narrative review published by senior colleagues. (They were gracious enough to include my name) Leadership: 6. Full points from Medschool CMDA. 7. A few more roles including Equality & diversity member, etc. 8. International oral presentation: Collabo with colleague, presented virtually in a Naija medical conference. Courses & Conferences: 9. BAD website: pick and choose, subject to your money and availability. My first attempt at the interview was during my IMT2. I got into the Infectious Disease program but did not rank highly enough for Dermatology. I eventually left after IMT2, to take up a Clinical Teaching fellow job in Dermatology which is highly sought-after for Dermatology interviews (for Derm experience). My second attempt at the interview 6 months later, again was unsuccessful at Dermatology. This really pained me because my colleagues had obtained offers and I felt left out. To add salt to the injury, I had not passed PACES as well after a few trials. I almost became depressed, I lost weight and my confidence was greatly affected. I knew I did not focus on the interview like I should have, because I had PACES exams. Eventually, when I got my PACES, I knew I needed to do all I could to excel at the interviews. Dermatology Interviews is the koko! You are competing with the crème of the crop as far as UK is concerned, so you must be polished and well-rehearsed. Tips: 1. Interview courses: Derm-owl courses, Optimise Interviews (less optimal for Derm). 2. Your self-made suitability and commitment document: There are about 20 standard interview questions, answer them in a Word document and constantly rehearse, memorise, and master it 100%. This cannot be over-emphasised. That’s the secret to Derm interviews. I got 10/10 in this station. 3. Abstract station: Practise abstract presentation 2 per day for 1 month. I did not do this enough. I got 6/10. 4. Clinical scenario: There are some common stations, but could be anything. Read up and do your best. 6/10 5. Clinical communication is also assessed during clinical scenario. They’ll ask you to explain diagnosis to the patient. I did this well 10/10. To the Glory of God, I ranked highly enough to be offered a place in Dermatology. I also interviewed for other Specialties: ID and Med Oncology and ranked top 12 in both. I got 3 offers in total, but have chosen Dermatology. Praise God!!! I want to thank everyone who helped and encouraged me along this journey. I would like to encourage us all to take a chance on your dreams. Life is too short to say that you did not at least try. It may take a longer while, failures may come but push through. Surround yourself with the few who care and set your face like a flint. You will eventually succeed if you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and never give up!

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