210210_NHS_Louise-Buchanan_002.jpgMeet Dr Louise Buchanan, she explains how she didn’t let other people’s views of what, as a woman, she should or shouldn’t be stop her from following her dream of going into medicine. Here is her story and why she thinks International Women’s Day is important:

I am Dr Louise Buchanan and I am a Consultant Cardiologist & Associate Medical Director Emergency Care & Medicine at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. I grew up in West Cumbria, went to school in Workington. I have always wanted to do medicine – I wasn’t always encouraged though because I am a girl!! I did work experience here in the Cumberland Infirmary then went to the University of Dundee.

I always found cardiology an exciting specialty and where actually you could make a difference. Patients often really sick and can instantly make them better and make a difference. I did my cardiology training in Glasgow and Yorkshire and spent 18 months in Milan, Italy to gain further experience in coronary intervention prior to returning to the UK. Milan to Carlisle!! Again I wasn’t always encouraged to do interventional cardiology because I am a girl!! Less than 10% of interventional cardiologists in UK are female.

I have been a consultant here for 8 years and have had opportunities to be involved in education and training in addition to research. I found medical leadership a new challenge, completed NELA training and also won a scholarship from the European Society of Cardiology to do the ‘Women Transforming Leadership Programme’ at Oxford University, skills that I am now using as an associate medical director.  I am also on the council of the British Cardiovascular Society representing district general hospitals. Its important to realise that working in Cumbria does not preclude anything…

Who has been a female inspiration in your life and why? Alaide Chieffo – Professor of interventional cardiology – always encouraged and pushed me to do more. Made me realise doesn’t matter whether a women or an man in the field of interventional cardiology

What are you most proud of? Completing my MD as a consultant – ‘Differences between women and men in cardiovascular disease’.

Becoming chair of the European Association of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (EAPCI) Women Committee – focussing on ensuring women are given opportunities in interventional cardiology, increasing their visibility and also involvement in research into women with heart disease to ensure they are treated with the best therapies moving forwards.

If you could give your younger self advice what would it be?  Keep going, don’t give up.. Life’s easy when you live the hard way and hard if you try to live it the easy way..  

Why is international women’s day important to you? It’s been challenging to pursue a career in a very male dominated field. Often women not given opportunities or perceive that the opportunities aren’t there. It I simportant to show anything is possible and don’t be put off what you want to do.

If you are interested in joining the Trust you can find out more about career opportunities on our website.  Some of the roles similar to Louise’s currently out to advert include:

Consultant interventional cardiologist

Consultant in anaesthetics with major interest in ICU

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