Finding Work-Life Balance as a Paediatric Resident
Finding a balance between work, studying and physical fitness is important for Trafalgar Castle School alumna, Dr. Nabeela Bhaloo who is going into her second year of a seven-year Paediatric Residency in London, England.
After graduating from Trafalgar in 2015, Nabeela attended Medical School at the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom. “I always wanted to work with children and become a doctor,” said Nabeela Bhaloo, Class of 2015 alumna. “Going to university abroad gave me the opportunity to start medical school right away.”
Nabeela had just started an elective (which is a chance for final year medical students to gain experience in any area that interests them) in Neonatal Intensive Care at the BC Children’s Hospital when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020. “Everything went into a holding pattern while I waited to hear from the university on next steps. Then, in August 2020, I moved to London, England to start my medical residency at St Mary’s Hospital,” said Nabeela. “It was a surreal time as I packed up my university dorm room that was like a time capsule and moved to London where I didn’t know the area or have friends.”
While grappling with unprecedented challenges faced by the pandemic, Nabeela established friendships with her new work colleagues and worked tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of patients, staff and local communities. As healthcare workers around the world became unsung heroes with their unwavering commitment and resilience, the focus on mental health and recognizing one’s emotions became extremely important.
“It was during this time that we started talking about mental health and the importance of exercising, eating well, being patient and compassionate with yourself and having a supportive network of colleagues, family and friends to talk with,” shared Nabeela. “If you struggle with mental health and anxiety, it’s okay to ask for help – talk with your family doctor or ask family for help. Remember there is no stigma!”
For anyone considering a career in healthcare, Nabeela offered the following advice:
- Try to get experience first by volunteering to see if you like working in a hospital environment;
- Keep taking science classes;
- Develop good study skills and work habits;
- Establish time management skills;
- Be prepared to work long shifts and during holidays; and
- Maximize your time off.
“My time at Trafalgar gave me confidence to try new things. I developed my presentation, computer and leadership skills – all of which I still use today,” noted Nabeela. “As a doctor, I’m still writing articles for publications or presenting my research at conferences.”
The most gratifying part of Nabeela’s job is seeing her patients recover and spending time with the children and their families. “As patients, children generally bounce back fast, so you can see the results of your work right away which is very rewarding,” added Nabeela.
Nabeela’s dedication and perseverance during the pandemic serves as a testament to the spirit of so many healthcare professionals and a beacon of hope that can guide us forward with compassion.
Class of 2015 alumna, Nabeela Bhaloo’s favourite Trafalgar memory is the Grade 11 trip to Washington, DC and Jefferson Memorial. As a member of Carter House, Nabeela formed life-long friendships at Trafalgar and is grateful to the amazing teachers who believed in her and encouraged her to achieve success.