Fun Facts about Dr Monica:
- Favourite Food: Jollof rice and fried plantains
- Dream Holiday Destination: Bocas Del Toro in Panama
- Favourite Podcast: More Than a Lump by the Irish Breast Cancer Society
Tell us about your experience of studying medicine/ going to medical school:
I studied medicine in Trinity College Dublin. It was quite tough and just a little bit of fun. I was stressed and tired most of the time as I was working 2 jobs and still making it to classes. I also had some issues with low self esteem, mainly due to the fact that I felt like a loner as I was the only black person in my year. Eventually, I got through college and was so delighted that I did.
What do you love most about your job?
I currently work as a GP and my goodness, I love it so much. The best thing about it is meeting new patients, and getting to know them a little bit more each time. And most importantly, I get to help and do good for my patients.
Can you tell us something about being a GP/the work of a GP that people probably don't realise?
We have enormous paperwork! And we do enjoy those short stories our patients share.
What's your favourite way to start your work day?
Always with a cup of tea!
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
I am conscious of my mental health and I always want to prioritise that, so I think that helps me achieve a work life balance
What do you feel was your biggest challenge early in your career vs your biggest challenge now and how did you overcome this?
My biggest challenge earlier in my career was my self esteem. I always felt like I was not good enough or smart enough to be a doctor, I suffer enough with imposter syndrome. I am gradually overcoming this with a lot of self love and self belief and also accepting my limitations.
Knowing what you know now, what do you think is an important skill(s) for a GP to have?
It is extremely important to be empathetic and have people skills, and good communication skills. As a GP I meet a lot of people from all walks of life across so many age groups.
Do you think it’s important for GP’s to get involved in their communities? How can they do that?
From a personal experience as a black Irish GP, it is quite important for me to be involved in my community, it helps to demystify the healthcare system. I do this by taking part in different local activities and workshops and giving talks, and delivering easy to understand medical information via social media.
Do you have any advice on how to look after your mental health as a doctor?
Start with practising mindfulness, then set aside time for yourself!
What is the craziest/most common medical myth that you hear?
The most common myth I hear is : the IUD is only for people that have had a baby.