The most fulfilling part of my job is discovering knowledge that could change clinical practice for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers.
What do you do?
As a post-doctoral research fellow, I conduct research and mentor PhD students who are conducting research on pain. My research investigates the mechanisms by which treatments work to reduce complex pain conditions (e.g. phantom limb pain) in people with amputations. In addition, I design and test novel treatments for managing phantom limb pain in people with amputations. I also convene pain courses for undergraduate health sciences students.
What is the most fulfilling part of doing your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is discovering knowledge that could change clinical practice for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers. I.e., discovering ways we can better assess or manage pain. Also, the thrill of acquiring knowledge in the quest to discover solutions to pressing clinical challenges really excites me.
What advice would you give to current students?
Have a mentor – Ideally, someone who is successful in the field you are in, or that you would like to pursue. Navigating the road to your destiny is so much better when there is someone showing you the way to take or avoid.
Also, keep a company of like- minded people – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Lastly, work hard consistently, but remember to rest and refuel as you go.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?
My biggest challenge was completing my PhD while convening undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as co-supervising master’s research students, all while trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The workload was immense, and the pressure to perform in all these areas got to me sometimes. Since then, I have learnt not to do too much at the same time.
How have your degrees helped you in your career?
My qualifications opened many doors for me – I got employed as a lecturer at UCT, a university ranked #1 in Africa. I got to collaborate with some of the global leaders in my field. Also, I recently started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. This opportunity came with permanent residency for myself and my family.
How do you see your industry evolving in Africa?
The healthcare industry in Africa will see a shift in the adoption and utilisation of technology in healthcare facilities. The use of technology means some of the services routinely provided in hospitals will be provided remotely. These services include health screening, patient monitoring and basic treatment. Furthermore, I foresee the adoption of thoroughly trained artificial intelligence models to aid healthcare professionals in making accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions.