Dr Huai Ming Phen (Class of 2011), Orthopaedic Surgeon

How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?
Commuting and getting familiar with the London underground gave me so much independence whilst I was at CLS. There is such a large breadth of facilities to pique the most curious minds and CLS fosters and nurtures that. 

What was your first job?
Jack and Jones, Westfield, Stratford

Your biggest professional achievement?
Acquiring, honing, and implementing a skillset that not many other people in the world have. 
It truly is something that you can only appreciate once you have it, but having the ability to put somebody back together who has suffered a disastrous event is something that I am proud of. 

Your most challenging professional moment?
There are several facets to being a surgeon that can be quite challenging, but for me, being unable to see eye to eye with other professionals and colleagues who may think differently to you, despite wanting the same outcome. There are so many ways to go about doing things in life, it is important to understand that your way is not necessarily the only or right way to do it. 

What inspires and motivates you at work?
Seeing the sheer number of people who decide to work in a hospital, is incredible. To think that all of these people specialise in such different things; employees who change the linen on beds to radiologists who read the x-rays taken in that bed, everybody is able to come together as a team, like gears that are part of a larger machine, to produce a beautiful result. On a personal and selfish level, the desire to do and perform better can be both a curse and a gift. As a surgeon the tendency is to be extremely self critical and to learn from your failures and "just be better". Self criticism is your best advocate for improvement, however being in an environment of excellence also pushes you to strive to achieve the same greatness.

One piece of advice for pupils and other Old Citizens about getting into your profession?
To succeed in medicine and to be happy, I believe that you have to make a commitment, early, to the profession. This will help you when you are on those long call nights wondering why you are working this weekend whilst your mates from CLS are off, again, for another weekend in a row. Stomaching the fact that it is a lot of hard work, and that your life will be extremely different to if you weren't a doctor, the profession itself is unlike anything else in the world. Healthcare takes several different shapes and forms depending on the country that you are working in. I decided that I wanted to move to the USA early on in medical school, and had already taken my exams before my 3rd year of medical school as I knew that my end goal was to end up in the USA to practice. Set goals for yourself. One year, five year, and tenyear goals are usually a good place to start, and when you actually start them, it just inspires and motivates you to do it again! I can certainly say that 10 years ago, I did not think that I would be in the position that I am now, but if I did not have that dream, I definitely would not be