8 Mar 2020
To celebrate International Women's Day we hear from consultant Dr Ali Sanders who tells us about what led her to a career in medicine and why she chose to become a doctor. Ali also offers advice for others looking to pursue a career in pre-hospital care.
Was there anyone who inspired you to pursue a career in medicine?
It wasn't a specific decision, nor did I follow anyone. I have always been quite forthright and independent so I just followed the path I wanted to - my gender was never really a consideration in the job that I chose. I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged us all to pursue whatever we wanted, and not conform to social stereotypes. Luckily for me I have always been quite confident and not too bothered about what others think so I was never negatively influenced by suggestions that certain careers were more appropriate for women.
How and when did you decide to become a doctor? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I decided to study medicine after A levels. I wanted to do something interesting, with variety and that involved people. I knew I didn't want to work in an office!
What would you say to any student of medicine considering pre-hospital care as a career path?
Work out what you like, what makes you happy and go for that. If you like variety, teams, being outdoors, being challenged, a less than comfortable lifestyle then this is probably for you. If you like predictability, wearing smart clothes and being indoors don't choose pre-hospital care! Also keep your eyes open- there are so many opportunities in medicine. Think what you want to be doing when you are my age - not what you want to be doing now!
What is the hardest thing about pre-hospital care?
When what we do is not enough and the patient doesn't survive.
What is the most rewarding thing about working in pre-hospital care?
Knowing that you have made a real difference to someone's life.
How does knowing London’s Air Ambulance is there for anyone who might need it thanks to its supporters make you feel?
Proud and privileged to do this job!