Professor Reena Sidhu is a Consultant Gastroenterologist and Honorary Professor with the University of Sheffield. She is a member of the Endoscopy and Education Committee and is the current BSG Education Web Editor.
What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology/hepatology?
I went to medical school in Ireland. I have always been interested in the gut but I was fortunate enough to do my foundation training under Prof Jonathan Rhodes in Liverpool. Developing experience in managing variceal bleeds and diagnosing toxic megacolon on abdominal X-rays in my first year as a doctor affirmed my decision to pursue gastroenterology as a career. I did also toy with the idea of critical care during my rotation at Charing Cross Hospital. However, I felt that gastroenterology provided both practical procedures and the ability to interact with patients more (who are not intubated and asleep!).
What advancement in gastroenterology/hepatology are you most excited about and why?
Artificial Intelligence in endoscopy is fast approaching and will soon be incorporated into endoscopy software for routine use. I am very excited about this development, especially within small bowel endoscopy, but it is vital that do not lose the human skill!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Having been a consultant for over ten years, I enjoy medicine and the challenge of complex cases, and the ability to help and make a difference. I still feel that I never stop learning. It is a great pleasure to support nurses and junior colleagues through their training and into becoming consultant colleagues. Having been privileged enough to be a mentor, I try to instill confidence in others, and watching their growth and achievements makes it very rewarding.
What challenges do you face in your work?
Being a full-time NHS Consultant, undertaking clinical research, supervising clinical fellows and having a young family is a juggling act. I still strive to improve that balance and remind myself to refocus from time to time. I consider myself lucky to have great colleagues at work particularly when I feel my resilience is waning.
What is the one thing you would change?
The NHS IT platforms have improved considerably in the digital era. However, with the complexity, it can make patient interactions more rigid and a nightmare when they go down. Better IT infrastructure is a must for progress!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
My Dad has always been an inspiration to me. He always advises me – in any situation where the decision may be difficult, take time to think and the right answer will come to you, and ‘never say never’. You cannot win if you don’t try! I tell my kids the same thing.
What does being a BSG member mean to you?
It is a pleasure to work with so many like-minded and enthusiastic members. There are so many opportunities that the BSG offers and I am proud to be able to be involved in the development of the Society and contribute to its growth.