Favourite Libby Item and why?
I would have to say; the olive green shirt dress, firstly I love the colour and the relaxed lines about it, I also love the fact that it’s smart and tailored at the top but you can pull the cuffs down to make it look more professional and also pull them up to give it a more causal relaxed look. It’s trans-seasonal, so you could take it out your wardrobe all four seasons. I also like the pink dress and blue coat combo as the colours really compliment each other, it’s pretty and feminine and I like figure hugging things but it’s not too clingy that you couldn’t wear it to work, as in my line of work you’ve got to be able to move. You can’t look too sexy in the work place. Half of my patients are men, so one has to be aware of the fact that if I’m seeing women alone it probably matters less what I wear because if your button pops off your shirt on the way to the office, you have to think damn who am I seeing today, you do have to be very self-aware.
What’s your style?
I love the sculpted, very fitted look for some things but also a slightly more flowing bohemian kind of style. It sounds a bit of a cliché but I really like Victoria Beckham, I think she’s got a great ‘take it anywhere’ look, so I think as a women who wears clothes well, I like her choices. As a feel I like Chloe, I like that slightly Bohemian feel that they have, which I can carry into city wear.
What career advice would you give your twenty year old self?
Plan your career with your head not your heart, I think you actually have to think it through however you mustn’t over think it. I often get younger colleagues coming and talking to me about when they should have a child and I always say start as soon as it won’t be a disaster but they often say that might be too soon. ‘I don’t think I’m ready yet I want to get my register job.’ Although it takes a few years to get there.
What is your worst office faux par?
When I was a junior doctor I had this fabulous pair of of almost legging type pants, which were terribly expensive, I bought them in the sale however I was a junior doctor at the time so they were really quite pricey. My leggings were a bronze/gold colour with a reflective stripe down the sides in a really reflective fabric, probably not appropriate to wear to work. One night I was wearing them on call where I attended to an elderly gentleman on the ward who described me to the nurses as the doctor who wasn't wearing any bottoms! My pants were so shiny and reflective he thought I was naked from the waist down.
I'm often talking to women about very intimate, often quite distressing things, some of my female colleagues will disagree with me on this but I'll often find an icebreaker of "oh fab shoes!" When someone walks in, which I won't say unless I actually mean it and instantly they aren't scared about seeing the 'scary' gynaecologist anymore.
If you weren't a doctor, what would be your fantasy job?
Two other careers that I never considered which I wish I had, would be a barrister or an architect, they aren't exactly fantasy jobs but I think with architect, I have the least artistic flare in my family but I like to think I have some. What I like about architecture is the fact it's a combination of artistic flare and design but with a practical nature. I can't paint, I cant draw but I can make things. With barrister I guess its because I like form.
Do you think that your style has changed a lot since you started, not from a fashion/trend perspective but in terms of your own confidence and career pressure?
Not me personally because I've always been known as slightly differently dressed, however I would say always appropriately because I like clothes, I like fashion and I like to look nice and be different, but you have to not scare the patients, you have to look the part, I strive to look the part without looking too conventional.
Are there a lot of female gynaecologists?
Yes there are now, when I was at medical school, gynaecology was in the top ten specialties with the least number of women, there was a big push in the early nineties; between ninety and ninety three to get women to go into gynaecology now there are almost too many women women because the problem is that unfortunately female doctors are more likely to work part time take long career breaks or actually give up. So we've got all these female trainees but potentially we are going to have a shortage of consultants. So it's a work place planning that has slightly backfired. You have to be a resident on call as a trainee until you become a consultant, it's quite hard when you have small children.
We just lose so many at this stage, It's a cultural shift but actually it’s one that isn’t as difficult to achieve as you might think, you expect to be able to go to the shop at night and get things, so I think there needs to be night clinics because there are creative ways of making it work better for the hospital.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to go into medicine?
Medicine is a lifestyle, it’s not a clocking in and clocking off job, you have to want to do it, not because it pays well or you like the status it brings, you have to do it because you embrace the whole idea.
I think that applies even more so to medicine because there are standards that used to be unwritten that the public expected doctors to uphold, now they are written up by the GMC, that you just wouldn't get away with as a doctor today and quite rightly so. You do sort of have to embrace the whole thing, probably more compared to other careers or similar ones, anything in the public eye; lawyers for example. I think there’s probably an element of having to put a lot into it, even if you work for the NHS, so you don’t run your own private practice but it’s a bit more people like yourself running your own business, you do have to put the hours in. You’re not doing it because it’s your business; you’re doing it because it’s your lifestyle.