Please indulge me and picture the scene. I am at a conference. I am 5’4, a girl, with blonde hair and an unfortunate accent. It is an Orthopaedic conference about how to get ahead in your Orthopaedic career. I love Orthopaedics but apart from that I have very little in common with the crowd around me. Most of whom look like they might be able to carry me on their little finger. We have heard a lot about writing papers, hips, research, more hips, doing a PhD. Lovely. I am feeling less enthralled and more terrified, the chap next to me scribbles this all down with enthusiasm, I wish he had the same enthusiasm about his own personal hygiene; I look around hastily for a seat to move to. 
The next lecturer comes up. He starts by suggesting that we all put in a submission for the Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize, it’s an essay competition, you can write anything, there is a title and the trick is that it has to be a 1000 words, no more, no less. He gives us the details, this I do write down, everyone does…bugger. 
‘No one will like what you write Charlotte’, the niggling voice of self-doubt rooted deeply rears its head and ricochets around my subconscious. I look at the website again, the panel looks very experienced, if I am going to submit something I must triple check my their, they’re and there’s. This is madness I will never win; they will bin it before the second paragraph! The title grabs me though ‘Doctors are a drain on society’. 
I write it in my head and then on Word, eventually I submit. Expecting nothing to come from it and feel slightly embarrassed that I felt I could win over a panel, let alone win £1000. I forget about it until I receive an email from Rosie. I won. Perhaps this is a joke, maybe they mixed up our entries? No, I actually won. Lunch with Mr. Villar, Rosie and Francois. A real treat to meet such wonderful people, hear stories and feel inspired. Mr. Villar turns to me midway through a conversation and laughing he says; ‘you are mad Charlotte! We are all mad!’ And later, when I am standing there, all 5’4 and blonde hair and silly accent, shaking hands with Mr. Villar and clutching on to my certificate, grinning like a village idiot I think ‘Yes Mr. Villar, I am mad, we are all mad and I am so glad for it.’

Charlotte Somerville

Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals

NHS Foundation Trust

Charlotte Somerville receives her Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize certificate from Mr Richard Villar


Enter the 2014 Cambridge Orthopaedic Writing Prize here. Write 1000 words, win £1000. Open to all orthopaedic trainees around the world!

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AuthorRosie Browne