A rollercoaster of mathematics, equations, compassion and kindness

24 November 2021

From growing up in Singapore, to starting her doctor training in India, Archana joined Kingston Hospital eight months ago to continue her training. “I grew up in Singapore and moved to India when I was 17. I have always wanted to be a doctor. I’ve got quite a mixed global heritage, and I think that’s what attracted me to apply to London specifically because it’s quite a multicultural place and Kingston more so, I’d say.”

In Singapore there are three main cultures – Chinese, Malays and Indians: “I have always felt very attached to my Indian roots, but yet exposed to a lot of different cultures from a young age and then I moved back to India. Both my parents are Indian.”

As a young student growing up in multicultural Singapore, we asked Archana what inspired her to go into medicine: “My favourite subject growing up was mathematics – I absolutely loved it. When I looked at medicine as a career, I always liked the human aspect of it. I loved interacting with people from a young age. I love communicating and I felt that medicine gave me a good opportunity to tap into those interpersonal elements.”

“I did my F1 and F2 equivalent years in India. I came here as a trust grade ST1 in medicine. I just knew that internal medicine was what I always wanted to do. It’s been a brilliant experience so far at Kingston, and I’d like to stay for as long as I can. Fingers crossed I get training here – I have to apply next month and then we’ll find out.”

“I do get a bit emotionally invested sometimes but I’m only human. It can be a rollercoaster at times. I think the key is just to not bring it home with you too much, or just keep yourself occupied outside of work.”

As well as going to the gym, Archana loves to dance: “I enjoy Indian dancing – I learnt the classical form – then I moved on to doing more semi-classical and contemporary dance. I also play the ukulele. I think anything related to dance and music is always something that’s an escape from reality for me. I’m transformed to a different world when I have time to get dressed in full Indian costume.”

When asked the best part of her job as a doctor: “Honestly, I just love talking to people, hearing about different experiences of the patient, watching them get better, being there for them when they’re getting worse. That for me is the best part of my job. Unfortunately, a close relative passed away a couple of years ago and I realised then that nothing else really matters more than the human relations when caring for someone unwell – everything else takes a back seat.”

Looking to the future Archana shares her aspirations: “I want to be a cardiologist. I feel passionately about that – it would be a dream come true if that does happen. I love mathematics and I love equations. For me when I look at ECGs or the physiology of the heart, it’s like a mathematical equation that we have to solve, and I would love to spend the rest of my life doing that.”

“So, what keeps me going? It’s the process of continuously learning something new, and interacting with such a wide variety of people, not just patients, but staff, and the social element, as well as the educational element – all of it put together – it’s the most wonderful profession.”

“Everyone has a different role in the team and every patient has a different story. It’s fascinating to see it all come together to deliver something amazing. To get that patient home and well and the impact that has on their family too. The gratitude you receive from a patient who is unwell, and they get better is immensely rewarding. The thank yous from the patients and their families really make my day.”

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