Beth, A&E Doctor
Midlands | Moderately deaf | Two hearing aids
My job is very varied. I work in a busy Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency or A&E) as a senior doctor. The biggest part of my job is to provide advice to junior doctors, and answer their questions about the patients they have seen. I also see patients myself; talking with them and their relatives, examining patients and treating them.
One of my favourite things is putting on plaster casts for people with a broken ankle – the plaster cast material can get very messy! Another part of my job that I love is teaching, especially on D/deaf equality and awareness. I find my job extremely rewarding. It is such a privilege to meet so many different people from so many different backgrounds. It is amazing to have an opportunity to help change people’s lives for the better – with the right medical treatment, or with a kind word and a smile.
So far all of my equipment has been funded by myself, my family or my employer. I’m planning to use Access to Work funding for my next stethoscope though. The Fire Safety Officer at the hospital has arranged for individual fire safety plans and individual vibrating pagers to make sure we’re all safe wherever we are.
I use a Littman Electronic amplified stethoscope for listening to patients’ heart and breathing sounds. I take my hearing aids out and use the stethoscope in the same way hearing people do. It is battery powered and has a volume control. As I become more deaf I will change over to a visual stethoscope. Making phone calls is a big part of my job. I use a binaural Personal Stereo Lead (direct input lead) to connect a smartphone to direct audio input shoes on my hearing aids. It took four visits to my audiologist to fine-tune the different programmes so that I could hear and understand voices over the phone!
The main barrier is the background noise in a busy Emergency Department. Having direct input leads has helped overcome this for me.
How I got here
To become a doctor, I took science A-levels and then studied Medicine at university for six years. After that I worked as a junior doctor for about 10 years before becoming a Consultant. It’s a lot of hard work and a LOT of exams!
My advice to young people is to think about what you love. All jobs are difficult and challenging sometimes. Enjoying what you’re doing will help you through the difficulties. Be honest with people about things you find difficult. Be creative with finding solutions to problems!