In conversation with our alumni: Nicholas Bullock BSc, MBBCh, MRCS
Nick is a Welsh Clinical Academic Track (WCAT) Fellow and Specialist Registrar in Urology working at Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Nick is currently undertaking a PhD within the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute exploring ways to increase the efficacy of PARP inhibitors in advanced prostate cancer.
Nick describes a typical day: “Beginning with a laboratory meeting or informal discussion, after which I spend time in the lab running experiments. The afternoon may then involve facilitating a medical student tutorial, followed by an evening on call. The transition from clinical practice to the lab is challenging, but I have no doubt it will prove invaluable to my personal and professional development.”
After graduating Nick moved from Cardiff to undertake an Academic Foundation Programme in Bristol. Nick describes: “Although moving to a new region and hospital was a daunting prospect, I met some fantastic individuals and developed enormously. Having spent several years in the Welsh NHS as a student, it was invaluable to leave the comfort zone and experience a different institution, system and infrastructure. It also allowed me to reflect on all the amazing opportunities associated with living and working in Wales, which ultimately led me and my wife to return.”
On his return to Wales, Nick undertook a urology themed Core Surgical Training (CST) programme, rotating between Prince Charles, Royal Glamorgan, Morriston and UHW. Nicholas says: “I used these two years to not only develop my basic surgical skills and complete my membership exams, but also strengthen my academic portfolio. I then successfully reapplied for a WCAT fellowship at the end of CST. If there is anything to take from my short career to date it would be to persevere in the face of perceived ‘failure’. As medics we become somewhat accustomed to success, but as my old supervisor once said, ‘it is not your successes that define you, rather it is how you deal with your failures’.”
On why Nick chose to study at Cardiff University, he says there were numerous reasons: “From an academic perspective, Cardiff ranked highly for Medicine. The course also comprised several components that I thought suited my learning style, including full body dissection and the traditional curriculum structure. Socially, Cardiff University and the city of Cardiff were very appealing.
They provided all the advantages of studying within a capital city, including access to large musical and sporting events, without the geographical size and population of London. I was fortunate enough to obtain offers from four medical schools, but Cardiff was number one and it was absolutely the right decision.”
This is a shortened version of the full article that features in edition 30 of ReMEDy.