Alessandro Demaio's Key Topics of Thought

MedWorld’s Dr Sam Hazledine interviewed Alessandro Demaio about his journey so far, from a young person who wanted to be a General Practitioner in rural Australia, to a holding a Post-Doctorate Fellowship at Harvard and communicating to the world via social media, blogging and public speaking, about issues surrounding non-communicable diseases and global public health.

Here’s some key topics for thought from the podcast on how to be an exceptional doctor.

 

1) You don’t have to follow the beaten path

Though it’s tempting to follow the beaten path we’re taught at Med School, many exceptional doctors don’t follow a traditional career path. Alessandro Demaio’s day to day life is very different to the one he imagined for himself when he began Med School. He once wanted to be a General Practitioner in rural Australia with a picket fence and a vegetable garden, but found himself passionate about making a difference to global public health, managing global movements like NCD Free.

“It’s not been easy,” Alessandro admits.

“I felt a lot of pressure to maintain that path, that conveyor belt style sort of path that is clinical training [but] if more doctors were into a range of different areas, society and also the medical community would be a lot better.”

 

2) Reach out to your community and ask big questions

NCDs are one of the biggest issues facing the 21st century. It’s perhaps due to a lack of education, or miseducation. In part, preventive care is about reaching out to people; drop the jargon and communicate in the real world – on social media, through blogging or public speaking to help spread awareness and understanding around health issues.

“How do we have these big conversations that quite frankly not many people want to have?” asks Alessandro.

“We actually talk about these issues through things that we love […] instead of talking about obesity, let’s talk about food. Food is something we love, it’s something we celebrate.”

How you pose the question and how you communicate with people is important to success.

 

3) Create balance and meditate!

Doctors themselves are in one of the groups that’s most at risk of developing NCDs. We all know that overworking and stress contribute to ill health, and yet, doctors are some of the biggest culprits for this. Young doctors in particular feel pressure and responsibility to undertake unrealistic workloads, whether it’s an effort to create good outcomes for a patient or to get into a competitive training programme. But it’s not good for us.

Alessandro emphasises the importance of creating balance in our lives; listen to a podcast that isn’t related to medicine or spend time with friends and family. He also advocates meditation and mindfulness techniques.

“I have just turned 30 and I can tell you I’m not getting any younger and I’m realising that you have to take care of the body that you have, because you can’t just swap it out for another when it hits 50,000 miles!” He says.

 

4) Enjoy the journey and don’t underestimate your ability to make a difference

Don’t ever question the impact that you are able to achieve, aim high! But don’t forget to enjoy the journey either, like Alessandro, your medical degree may find you on a path you’d never expected to be on.

“I know it sounds really cliché, but enjoy the journey and be okay with exploring things, be okay with taking a year off and travelling around Australia and doing locum work, be okay with going and trying a different profession or applying your skills somewhere else,” says Alessandro.

As a doctor, there are a huge range of opportunities available to you. Whether it’s locum work across New Zealand and Australia, or taking a year out to travel and explore the world, take advantage of the opportunities available to you… you never know what successes it may bring!

MedWorld’s Dr Sam Hazledine interviewed Alessandro Demaio about his journey so far, from a young person who wanted to be a General Practitioner in rural Australia, to a holding a Post-Doctorate Fellowship at Harvard and communicating to the world via social media, blogging and public speaking, about issues surrounding non-communicable diseases and global public health.

Here’s some key topics for thought from the podcast on how to be an exceptional doctor.

 

1) You don’t have to follow the beaten path

Though it’s tempting to follow the beaten path we’re taught at Med School, many exceptional doctors don’t follow a traditional career path. Alessandro Demaio’s day to day life is very different to the one he imagined for himself when he began Med School. He once wanted to be a General Practitioner in rural Australia with a picket fence and a vegetable garden, but found himself passionate about making a difference to global public health, managing global movements like NCD Free.

“It’s not been easy,” Alessandro admits.

“I felt a lot of pressure to maintain that path, that conveyor belt style sort of path that is clinical training [but] if more doctors were into a range of different areas, society and also the medical community would be a lot better.”

 

2) Reach out to your community and ask big questions

NCDs are one of the biggest issues facing the 21st century. It’s perhaps due to a lack of education, or miseducation. In part, preventive care is about reaching out to people; drop the jargon and communicate in the real world – on social media, through blogging or public speaking to help spread awareness and understanding around health issues.

“How do we have these big conversations that quite frankly not many people want to have?” asks Alessandro.

“We actually talk about these issues through things that we love […] instead of talking about obesity, let’s talk about food. Food is something we love, it’s something we celebrate.”

How you pose the question and how you communicate with people is important to success.

 

3) Create balance and meditate!

Doctors themselves are in one of the groups that’s most at risk of developing NCDs. We all know that overworking and stress contribute to ill health, and yet, doctors are some of the biggest culprits for this. Young doctors in particular feel pressure and responsibility to undertake unrealistic workloads, whether it’s an effort to create good outcomes for a patient or to get into a competitive training programme. But it’s not good for us.

Alessandro emphasises the importance of creating balance in our lives; listen to a podcast that isn’t related to medicine or spend time with friends and family. He also advocates meditation and mindfulness techniques.

“I have just turned 30 and I can tell you I’m not getting any younger and I’m realising that you have to take care of the body that you have, because you can’t just swap it out for another when it hits 50,000 miles!” He says.

 

4) Enjoy the journey and don’t underestimate your ability to make a difference

Don’t ever question the impact that you are able to achieve, aim high! But don’t forget to enjoy the journey either, like Alessandro, your medical degree may find you on a path you’d never expected to be on.

“I know it sounds really cliché, but enjoy the journey and be okay with exploring things, be okay with taking a year off and travelling around Australia and doing locum work, be okay with going and trying a different profession or applying your skills somewhere else,” says Alessandro.

As a doctor, there are a huge range of opportunities available to you. Whether it’s locum work across New Zealand and Australia, or taking a year out to travel and explore the world, take advantage of the opportunities available to you… you never know what successes it may bring!

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