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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

alumni in focus

BSMS > About BSMS > Alumni > Alumni in focus Dr Aoife Fordham

Alumni in Focus - Dr Aoife Fordham

Dr Aoife Fordham (BM BS 2016)

Dr Aofie Fordham, BSMS alumna

Aoife graduated in 2016 and is training as a GP and working as a Digital Fellow as part of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme.

She tells us about her interest in health informatics, and why her best friends - who she met in halls on her first day at BSMS - are her source of inspiration.

Tell us a bit about where you are now? 

I’m a GP trainee, also working as a Digital Fellow based in the hospital’s IT department.  
Where would you like your career to take you next?

My career has taken an exciting turn in the past few years, as I’ve become more interested in health informatics. From August I’m taking a year out of clinical medicine to work for NHS Digital as part of the FMLM National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme.

I’d like to see my career combining working as a GP, as well as a leadership/management role working in health informatics.  
What is health informatics? And what sparked your interest in the field?

Health informatics is essentially how we best utilise IT to collect, analyse, synthesise and output data to deliver the safest and most efficient care for our patients. For example, developing a system whereby a patients’ allergy status is recorded accurately in one location, but can be viewed by any healthcare professional needing to see it, hence reducing the risk of someone missing an allergy, or conflicting information about whether or not they have an allergy.  
I realised a few years back, even if you’re the ‘best’ doctor, the care you can actually deliver to your patients is significantly constrained by the resources available to you, and increasingly arguably the most prominent resource effecting our daily care is technology. For example, GPs spend the vast majority of their day in front of a computer screen. As clinical staff we understand how technology is used in healthcare, so we’re in the best position to work with IT teams to share this insight into how it can be best implemented to maximise its brilliance!  

 What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I remember a lecturer at BSMS saying: When you qualify, always be kind. I’ve come to realise, no matter what challenging position you find yourself in as a doctor, people respond best to kindness.  
What do you feel was the best thing about studying at BSMS?

I felt the best thing about BSMS was how receptive the school was to our feedback, which made our opinions feel valued. Also, the location. Being located at the doorstep of the sea, the countryside and a bustling city!  
Who has inspired you most in life?

My three best friends (The Squad!) who I met in halls on day one at BSMS. While our training paths were similar, we’re all completely different individuals and they’re my first port of call, in both life and learning!

What has it been like working on the front line during a pandemic?

At first it was predominantly adrenaline-fuelled: the unparalleled comradery and public appreciation, but that soon disappeared with a period of it feeling tiring and frustrating. I’d say it then just became the norm. We still treat covid patients but have now integrated this into our daily practice.
What's your favourite memory from your time at BSMS?

Oh so many! The BSMS social events where the whole medical school would descend on one venue and the hilarious annual medic revue. I'd say the one that most comes to mind would be the grad ball, which was a wonderful evening, celebrating with the staff and students we’d come to know so well over the past five or so years.  
What advice would you give a first-year medical student?

Take care of yourself. Being a medical student and a doctor can be really hard. Most doctor friends of mine have struggled with their mental health to a degree at some point. If you feel you are struggling, my advice would be to seek support early.  
Describe BSMS in three words

Receptive, positive, family.