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News > Mill Hill & COVID-19 > Dr Leanne Armitage

Dr Leanne Armitage

Leanne Armitage (Ridgeway 2011-13)
Leanne Armitage (Ridgeway 2011-13)

I think the best word to describe my experience since starting as a junior doctor would be colourful. There have been great moments, inspiring moments, funny moments, and equally; there have been challenging and overwhelming moments.

Before officially starting as a doctor, I had 3 days of shadowing. A large majority of this time was spent trying to figure out how to gain access to the IT systems, and just generally trying to grasp an understanding of how things functioned in the hospital. My first official shift was a 12.5 hour on-call shift. This meant I would be carrying a bleep which goes off whenever someone is trying to contact you, or if there is an emergency crash call. As such, when I saw this on the rota, I was convinced that they had probably made a mistake… However, it was not a mistake! I was very nervous about this as it felt like I was being thrusted into deep waters. There were moments on the shift when I found myself feeling anxious and overwhelmed, however, the support network I had was brilliant and I never felt completely alone. By the end of the shift, as well as being immensely grateful it was over, I felt a great sense of pride - I had survived!

Almost two months into the job, I feel like things are slowly starting to fall into place. I still have moments when I feel overwhelmed and out of my depth, but I recognise this is normal.

As a junior doctor I’ve been working on a Covid-negative ward, so I haven’t had much exposure to patients who have fallen ill with Covid. However, when I am in situations where I may be in contact with these patients, I have had personal protective equipment on, so I have felt safe. Besides this, the Covid-19 pandemic has generally impacted the way everything in the hospital functions. For example, visiting hours for relatives are limited, which has an emotional impact on patients who are missing their loved ones.

Outside of medicine, I am equally passionate about the work I do through my charity (The Armitage Foundation) to increase diversity across UK medical schools. This is a major issue because currently, half of the schools across the UK do not produce a single medical applicant! This is unacceptable because it means the medical workforce doesn’t reflect the diverse society it serves; in turn, this negatively impacts health outcomes for patients. On starting as a junior doctor, I made the decision that I would take a step back from charity work so I can focus on my training. Although, I haven’t completely stopped all charity activities. My co-founder and I recently did a virtual pitch which was hosted by The Funding Network. Our pitch was very successful and we managed to raise £23,000 for The Armitage Foundation! I am also doing one-off speaking engagements. For example, recently I featured on ITV news talking about the work of The Armitage Foundation and I’ve also been invited to speak as part of a virtual panel for the British Medical Association next month.

I am feeling very excited about this new season of my life, despite the challenges we’re all experiencing as we navigate through these strange and uncertain times.


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