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.’
Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust