Interview with Junior Doctor, Philip Eloka Eneje

Having graduated with a distinction from top UK university: University College London (UCL), We speak to junior doctor Philip Eloka Eneje about his Journey from a graduand through to graduation, as well as his current role as a junior doctor under the NHS.  

With thousands of aspiring medics all over the U.K competing for a place at university, we imagine it must have taken quite a lot of hard work to secure a place at a top university. Could you describe your journey? 

Fortunately for me I had pushy parents who always made sure I was never slacking in class. It definitely took  a lot of hard work to maintain a high level of consistency from exam to exam but I had many good role models around me as well as people who were just as driven to do well. All of that helped.

Are there any memorable moments or questions during interviews or tests you can recall?

Hmmm..there aren’t too many that I recall as it was so many years ago! Albeit, there is one session that I do remember. At an interview, I’d briefly read an article about dementia a few days before and brought it up during the interview itself. This rapidly led to series of questions from the panel to try and dig past superficial knowledge. At one point, I was asked to design an experiment to investigate dementia in mice. I think they must have liked me though because they gave me an offer and allowed me to graduate.

What subjects or topic areas did you find most challenging and/or interesting? 

The parts of medicine that interest me have always been the same: Psychiatry and Pharmacology. I enjoy both because Psychiatry not only deals with the way people behave, but the reasons for this which I find so interesting. When you start to increasingly understand the links between one’s genetics, brain structure, and the influence of the environment to major psychiatric conditions and even day to day behaviour, you start to face many challenges for example regarding punishment, and treatment of individuals. I like pharmacology because of the way it allows us not only to study the human body, but to begin to manipulate its certain functions.

Eloka, six years at university is not an easy feat. Tell us, what kept you going?

Prayer! And having many friends and family in the same boat. University was exciting, I met so many interesting people and learned so many things. Despite all the hard work it really was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Does it feel surreal now that it’s all over? what were your first thoughts? 

I can’t remember being any happier than finishing my final exam. My first thought I suppose was I better have passed! That period of life was fantastic. I went to St Kitts and Nevis with some friends to do an elective at a hospital there which was amazing! Afterwards I then visited some of my cousins in America. Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about anything more than the near future really as I was just happy to be free. *phew!


Now that you’ve joined the ‘working world’ in becoming a junior doctor, can you describe what challenges you have faced so far? 
The first month or two were understandably tough. To have to adapt to an environment where you now had responsibility for people’s health was still shocking despite preparation in medical school. I believe that I’ve settled into it now. I think the challenges I face are what most other junior doctors face, in working long hours and often being fatigued. Currently, there are ongoing discussions of imposing a contract on junior doctors which will lead to even longer hours and more fatigued doctors, which to say is a challenge is an understatement.


 What are your thoughts on Nigeria? do you see yourself ever being able to live and work there?
I normally seize the opportunity of going back home when it presents itself, so I am very disappointed that I haven’t been back for several years. I think most people are aware of the current state of the country and the challenges it faces. Things do not necessarily seem to be getting easier, and we face a long road ahead. For me it’s where I was born and where I spent a substantial amount of my childhood. If the timing and opportunity is right I am sure I would consider spending time there on a more permanent basis.

What do you get up to whilst you’re not at work? (any hobbies, talents, interests)
Like most working people I find myself struggling to fit in the hobbies I used to enjoy as a student. I enjoy listening to and playing music. I’m also making sure I maintain a decent proficiency in guitar, to not loose my skills and in turn waste all that tuition money my parents paid!

 Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

I’m not sure to be honest with you. The specialty I want to do changes as frequently as the seasons. I’m learning more the areas of medicine that suit me more, and that I enjoy more. Hopefully that will piece itself together to give me a fulfilling career.


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