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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Junior Doctors – Your Life In Their Hands: Keir Shiels

Keir Shiels

F2 doctor, 28, Gateshead

Designated department – Plastic Surgery

At 28, Keir, who is from Gateshead, is the oldest of the group. Incredibly, he already had a neuro science and psychology degree under his belt before deciding to train as a doctor. Once his medical school place was confirmed, Keir quit his job as a neuro psychologist to manage a wine merchants – professionally running courses, tutoring and of course, tasting.

Now in his second year of the foundation programme, Keir will be based on the surgical ward, in plastics, working alongside Katherine.

A firm believer that a good bedside manner goes hand in hand with patient recovery, he advocates really getting to know your patients and is not afraid to pull others up who don't.

As with all of the other doctors, Keir's spare time is spoken for – he can be booked to host private wine sessions, has just finished a stint in a local production of Guys And Dolls, plays piano and thinks he can give Anton Du Beke a run for his money ballroom dancing.

Why did you want to get into medicine?

I was already a neuro-psychologist – I got really fed up of assessing patients and then not doing anything about it as a scientist. And that's why I went into medicine - it's a trite reason saying: 'Oh, I really wanted to help people', but I did.

What are the best and worst things about being a junior doctor?

Being the smiling face that makes somebody feel better – and I don't just mean it by relieving their pain and relieving their infection and making them breathe more easily. I just mean making them feel better, when you walk in and you're happy and you uplift someone's spirits.

The worst is being covered in vomit, excrement and blood – being around some of the most horrific smells you will ever witness. And looking into the eyes of a dying human being and seeing their eyes look back at you scared witless – that is horrid.

What would you either like to see a cure for or be credited for a cure with in your career?

Multiple Sclerosis. It's a horrifically debilitating disease that latches onto people and just saps them.

What has made you laugh?

You always get those amusing patients who have objects stuck in various orifices, shall we say. I've seen stolen goods, garden gnomes and mobile phones – apparently people like the vibrate function.

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