Kathleen Shields is a Paediatric ED Nurse, Trainee Paediatric ACP in Paediatric Emergency Medicine and UK-Med member, where she was a key part of our responses in Malawi in 2016 and Bangladesh in 2017.
She signed-up to take part in UK-Med’s Three Peak Challenge last year, which unfortunately because of COVID-19, was rescheduled to this year – on 10th July. She shares how she became involved with UK-Med and her motivation for taking part in this year’s challenge.
I first got involved with UK-Med back in 2016 when I attended a ‘Calling All Clinicians’ interest day. I had enrolled on the Tropical Nursing Diploma at LSTM and I could not wait to start looking for different global health opportunities.
UK-Med’s mission first attracted me because I had a passion for emergency care and core belief that high-quality care should be deserved to anyone, just as much as me and my local population.
Even though I had not quite met the experience requirements yet, I had read lots about UK-Med’s work and thought that I needed to get in there and meet the team in the hopes that someday I might be able to sign up.
I found myself sat in a room full of clinicians with the most inspiring stories and, undeterred by imposter syndrome, I spent the day asking questions and trying to find out how I could join ASAP!
My relentless persistence seemed to have paid off when the training manager said she recognised my name after several keen emails I had sent. I became a member of the Community of Practice not long after and, one year later, found myself on my first deployment in Malawi.
“I was inspired to take up the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for a number of different reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that I would love to raise money for UK-Med in order to ensure that the important work they do persists and as a way of thanks for all the training and experiences I have gained through the organisation.”
After spending the first day with the team, I felt like I had met a group of clinicians that were like-minded and had the same passions I had. I felt that this was an organisation that was worth investing my spare time in.
Since engaging further with UK-Med and being lucky enough to deploy with them, I have also recognised the importance of their other aims: building resilience and raising standards. After appreciating the significant challenge of sustainable global health initiatives and the threat of evidence-lacking humanitarian responses, I have come to realise just how important both these aims are.
I was inspired to take up the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for a number of different reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that I would love to raise money for UK-Med in order to ensure that the important work they do persists and as a way of thanks for all the training and experiences I have gained through the organisation.
Secondly, because I think it sounds fun! I love being outdoors and I think after the year we have all had, being outdoors, around people and active is something that will bring me lots of happiness and hopefully others too.
Lastly, perhaps one of the aspects I most look forward to will be spending time with other members. I felt like I had met people that I truly had a connection with and since then I have always enjoyed working and socialising with them. Seeing as social gatherings have been somewhat limited recently, I look forward to connecting again face to face with people – and hopefully – a few familiar faces too!
So far my training and fundraising has been somewhat limited, due to the restrictions and I have not managed to explore that far afield yet. Nevertheless, I look forward to roping in a few friends over the coming weeks and months onto some walks.
I would encourage anyone who is interested to join the challenge! We could all do with some time outdoors – in hopefully some good weather (!!!) – with interesting individuals, FACE TO FACE, and raising some money for UK-Med is a massive added bonus!