Long hours, unpredictable shift patterns and being pushed to the limit on a daily basis has become the new normal for Oxford graduate and junior doctor Liam Loftus. Alongside providing critical care for patients at Liverpool’s Royal Hospital, Liam is also gaining a greater insight into the leadership and management of the healthcare sector, through a new additional role as Junior Doctor Mess President, a position he was elected to earlier this year.
How would you describe your time at The Blue Coat School?
Looking back at the seven years I spent at Blue Coat, I have countless wonderful memories that have played a huge part in my life ever since. One of the reasons why I think I have such great memories was due to the people I spent my time with, both students and teachers. I think that there’s an awful lot to be said for spending time with like-minded people, within a community that has a culture of striving to be the best that you can be. This culture and community has certainly led to me being somewhere now that initially, I couldn’t have imagined would have been possible.
How did your experience at the School prepare you for your career?
Academically, Blue Coat was an incredible place to study. The unique ability of the staff when it came to assisting students to realise their academic potential was something that I was very fortunate to benefit from greatly.
That being said, though Blue Coat is renowned for its academic successes, to focus on this alone would do a great disservice to the many other things that the school has to offer. The opportunity to be involved in sports and societies, and the encouragement you receive to pursue your interests and develop as an individual, really are second-to-none. One of the most important ways in which Blue Coat has prepared me for the rest of my life is through providing so many memories and friends that have certainly lasted long after my time at Blue Coat came to an end.
What has been your path since leaving?
After leaving Blue Coat in 2011, I went straight into a medical degree at Lady Margaret Hall College, at the University of Oxford. After initially being unsure as to whether a place like Oxford would be right for me, it’s safe to say that I haven’t looked back since starting my six-year degree there in the summer of 2011. Not only does the course prepare you for life in healthcare (be that as a practicing clinician or otherwise), but the people you meet both within and outside of your subject will provide you with memories and opportunities that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
One particular highlight of my time at Oxford was the year I spent as Oxford Medical School President in 2015/16. Not only did I meet many incredible people, but I was also lucky enough to pursue ventures such a room hire business that generated additional funds for our students, as well delivering a project that raised £250,000 to fund the building of a new gym and teaching facility in our medical students’ club house.
What do you do now?
Since finishing my studies and qualifying as a doctor in the Summer of 2017, I’ve moved back to Liverpool, and I’m now working as a junior doctor in the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Despite facing many challenges that include long hours, unpredictable shift patterns, and always being pushed to the limit of what you can achieve in the working day, knowing that you are having a tangible impact upon the health of our local community really is a rewarding experience.
One particular area of interest for me is leadership and management, especially within healthcare. Being elected Junior Doctor Mess President this year has really opened my eyes to the challenges faced by management teams who are responsible for vast organisations, particularly when there is an expectation to always deliver more with increasingly limited resources. It is, however, a fascinating area, and I very much hope that leadership and management will be incorporated in some way into my future career.
What would be your advice to students today?
One thing I’ve learned is that no matter what you choose to do after leaving Blue Coat, everything won’t always be plain sailing; you will no doubt face issues and difficulties that require perseverance and determination for you to overcome. My advice would therefore be, when it comes to choosing your path after leaving Blue Coat, it really should be something that excites and inspires you. It should be an area that is right for you. The issues and difficulties that you will inevitably face are then not a burden, but more of a challenge that you take a great deal of satisfaction in overcoming. The motivation and determination that you already have, combined with your passion for your chosen field, will no doubt lead you to live a very happy and fulfilling life. For that reason, you should choose something because it feels right for you.