We have noticed a dearth of role models for students who would love to delve into other spheres of life asides the Health Sciences. This is why we have decided to interview health professionals and medical students who are making waves in other spheres in order to inspire and enlighten medical student about opportunities outside the chosen field.
As a kid, Dr Rebecca Okolo (HeathThenMore) wanted to study medicine because she was told lawyers got killed for saying the truth as well as lying.
PENDICAL’S INTERVIEW SESSION WITH HEALTHTHENMORE
- Can you please introduce yourself?
I am Dr. Rebecca Okolo, the administrator of HealthThenMore. I’m also a wife and mother.
- A lot of us know Healththenmore, we do not know if she always wanted to study medicine. What/who motivated you to study medicine?
I decided to study Medicine when I was in Primary 5. Most children in those years wanted to study professional courses but I was a bit undecided between medicine and law till a friend’s neighbour told me lawyers get killed for saying the truth as well as lying. I was horrified and settled for medicine.
- Lol, that reason must have been quite convincing. What was the experience like for you while studying medicine?
My experience studying medicine could be likened to a difficult journey without a clear ending. I wanted to quit so many times, especially before my first M.B exam, because I didn’t think I had the brains for the course. I had a really tough time but I’m glad I did not quit.
- Are you a practising physician and why?
I’m currently out of practice because I want to practise outside Nigeria and I’m preparing for that.
- Will you come back to practise in Nigeria?
I will definitely return to practise in Nigeria and I have solid plans for that. I just need to get some matters in order first and that will take some years.
- What shaped your decision to go down this career path (media)?
I got into media because I was bored when I got to Canada and I’ve never been the type to stay idle for long. All I had was internet access and my computer, so I decided to start blogging on health.
- Would you say what you do now is fulfilling?
Yes, HealthThenMore is fulfilling for me because it is a means to an end and not the end itself. So looking at the bigger picture of my goals helps keep me going, especially when I get really tired.
- What challenges have you encountered so far?
The main challenge I’ve faced is keeping both pages, HealthThenMore and HTM_lifestyle interesting. This involves a lot of thinking, staying up late to work and searching for material. Trust me, nothing is as easy as it appears to be.
- Would you say the toils of medical school is worth it in the end?
Yes, the toils of studying medicine are worth it. You have several opportunities ranging from becoming an entrepreneur by starting your own clinic, to working freelance for organizations like the WHO, MSF etc. The benefits are endless. You can also relocate if the country in which you trained is not conducive for you to work. You have a lot of countries open to you to work in if you pass their exams, there is so much you can do!
- What would you want to change in Nigeria Health Sector what would it be?
The one change I would bring is creating an electronic medical records (EMR) system. I’d love Nigeria to have that. It would help make medical care unified and improve communication between health practitioners. It would also improve the quality of care patients receive.
- What advice do you have for medical students out there?
For medical students, my advice is: decide what you want from life quickly and get a mentor who has done something similar. Use your mentor’s advice to quickly get yourself where you want to be. Time waits for no man. Some opportunities are easier to access within 5 years post-graduation, meaning you don’t want to waste time pursuing the wrong goals. Work hard and be patient. Spend your time doing the right things that will move you closer to your goals and I wish you the best!