An insight into the daily life of a consultant dermatologist passionate about patient education
I know I’m not good in the morning, so I structure my days to start later and finish later. In summer, I’ll start clinic at 10am while in winter I start at 11am. Mondays and Fridays are non-clinical days, so I’ll start the morning in the gym. I really enjoy HIIT, fitting in about three sessions a week, as well as strength training with a personal trainer twice a week. I will usually have a big breakfast and work through lunch. My go-to is a white-egg omelette and a flat white! Having control over how I organise my week was one of the reasons I left my NHS post. I now have time to exercise, write and say yes to exciting opportunities that come my way, rather than having to book annual leave six weeks in advance!
It depends on whether I’m in clinic or not. Non-clinic days will be filled with admin, so answering emails, requesting blood tests for patients and potentially catching up on committee work. As part of the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group (BCDG) faculty, I take part in speaking at meetings and putting together agendas for conferences such as CCR. I really enjoy the work with the association as I’m keen to encourage more dermatologists to learn about aesthetics. Dermatologists are in a unique position to be able to advise not just on skin disease, but skin health too.
After leaving the NHS, I really wanted to give something back, so I do pro bono press work for the British Skin Foundation; an amazing skin charity which donates significant amounts of money to skin research. Tasks range from reviewing patient blogs, giving advice on dermatology, providing press quotes or takinge part in radio or television interviews. I was recently on Radio 1 talking about acne, which was a really exciting experience!
On the first Monday of every month I will download all the articles that catch my interest in the new journals that are out, before reading them on each subsequent Monday. This ensures I am continually learning and also helps form my Instagram posts. If I see something I know my patients will be interested in or ask me about, I will summarise the content, making it digestible for my 62k followers. I’m passionate about public health education and, the reality is, in a day I can reach more than 5,000 people with a good health message through an Instagram story, rather than the 30 patients I’d see in one day in clinic. One of the key things for me about being a good doctor is making health messages more accessible, minus the jargon. I work at the Cadogan Clinic in Chelsea on Tuesdays, while on Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m based at 55 Harley Street. I love how varied my work is – I can be advising someone on acne treatment, treating rosacea with IPL, administering dermal fillers, cutting out a mole and removing a skin cancer all in one day. Working in private practice, it’s lovely to take someone through the entire journey of treatment to see the end result. I talk a lot about mental health around skin and am in the habit of referring patients to clinical psychologists, as I believe treatment does involve their help. In general, we should all work with a network of different professions and always refer for procedures outside of our skillset.
I’m working on a few projects involving distance learning, so I’m likely to be studying. Recently, I have been having chemistry tutorials on Wednesdays to support this, but other evenings could involve press work, such as Instagram takeovers, panel events or simply meeting friends for dinner. My perfect evening consists of eating a delicious seafood linguine, followed by watching Netflix and drinking a glass of dry white burgundy with my husband, Nik. I eat and drink everything – I don’t food restrict – everything in moderation works for me!
There’s two! One is walking into my first post as a consultant. I’d spent my entire career working towards becoming a consultant and it always seemed like such a long way off. It was very strange when it became a reality – I was very proud to get through the process and it felt like all the tiredness, exams and missing out on life enjoyments were finally worth it! The second was the launch of my book, The Skincare Bible. I never planned to write a book – I was approached by publisher Penguin after they read my posts about skincare – yet it has been such a rewarding experience. I strongly believe that opportunities bring opportunities, so I always advise people to say yes when they come your way – you never know what they’re going to bring!