Anatomy Lecturer, Newcastle University
Career progression and development
I started my anatomy journey back in my undergraduate degree (Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield), where I was lucky enough to carry out cadaveric dissection. This was the highlight of my three years of undergraduate study, and so I ended up remaining at Sheffield to complete an MSc in Human Anatomy with Education – and was also an anatomy demonstrator, teaching anatomy to the next cohort of biomed undergrads! Having completed my MSc and gained Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, I went on to start my current role at Newcastle.
It was during my MSc that my interest in anatomical drawing began. I started an Instagram page to share my work (@aspiringanatomist), that at one stage reached over 35,000 followers!
Current anatomy-related stream
I’m now working as an anatomy lecturer, based in the School of Medical Education at Newcastle. My role mainly involves co-ordinating, developing and delivering teaching for the first two years of the MBBS programme, but I also lead an anatomy module for Sports & Exercise Science, and contribute to teaching of anatomy on several other programmes within the Faculty of Medical Sciences. It’s a very varied role, and I really enjoy getting to work with lots of different groups of students – although it can make learning names a challenge!
I’m really interested in finding ways to encourage students to incorporate drawing into their study more often. Students are often put off by using art as a learning tool if they don’t perceive themselves as ‘good’ at drawing. I’d really like to help students change that outlook as drawing can be so useful for learning anatomy. I’d also like to build my own portfolio of anatomical illustrations.
Career ‘top tips’
What I wish I’d known earlier… that a global pandemic was going to start within about 4 months of me starting my job?! In all seriousness, working through the pandemic really taught me the value of a healthy work-life balance. It can be challenging to achieve this when working in teaching, but I find that I’m much more productive (and happier) when I’m strict about taking time away from my desk. This is much harder when your desk is in your living room! But I think it’s the most important learning curve when you’re early in your career.