What did you want to be when you were at school/growing up? If it was different, why did you change your mind?
I had no clear idea until the sixth form and then decided to do medicine. I had not let myself think of it before as it seemed an unoriginal thought in my family of doctors, but I eventually admitted to myself that nothing could be more fascinating and rewarding and I was right!
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Helping women and being able to make a significant difference to the quality of their lives means that, quite simply, this is the most rewarding job I have ever had.
What are the main 3 factors that make you frustrated at work?
Uninformed commentary about the menopause
Hearing some stories from women and how they have suffered
Lack of professional curiosity about menopause in general.
Why would you recommend your career to a young person? What positive aspects would you highlight?
For me, variety has really fuelled my enthusiasm and interest in medicine and I would always say to others never be afraid of change or to change career direction.
I have benefitted from having a wide experience of primary and secondary care which has extended my repertoire and knowledge as a doctor. I am pleased not to be ‘stuck’ in one speciality forever.
What has been your 3 biggest career disappointment or challenge and why, and how did you overcome it?
Balancing a career with a family. I overcame it to a certain extent by working part time.
Chronic lack of funding and resources within the NHS make it an incredibly stressful place to work at times.
The lack of care, respect and consideration given to NHS workers was very disappointing at times.
What was your best career move?
I enjoyed specialising in anaesthetics and general practice but some of the most rewarding medicine of all has been specialising in the menopause where I feel I can really make a difference to women’s lives and feel effective as a doctor.
Can you describe your work/what you do in 1 sentence?
Listening to women’s stories and giving them help and information to make an informed choice in how to manage the menopause.
What qualities do you think you need to do your job well?
Empathy, patience, resilience.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever got from a patient or work colleague?
Treat patients as you would your own family.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of career advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Choose a specialty that you love but also don’t be afraid to change the path you’re on.
Remain professionally curious and open minded.
Understand how menopause can give rise to symptoms in every area of medicine.
What do you do to relax/de-stress?
Regular exercise – running outside gives me a real boost and general fitness is important for my mental health too. I love reading when time allows and listening to music.
Is the thought of retirement a dream or a nightmare – and why?
Both – I love my job so much so I would feel rather lost without it to a certain extent. However I am also really looking forward to new adventures and challenges outside of medicine.
Do you have a morning routine – something you always start your working day doing?
Like everyone these days, I check emails as soon as I am awake.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My father for letting me see how fascinating and rewarding medicine is and of course my friend and colleague Louise Newson who has done so much to empower women with correct knowledge about the menopause.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Rebecca Lewis is director at Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre as well as a GP with a specialist interest in the menopause. In addition she is director of the centre’s linked businesses – its health and education programme and Balance app, which allows women to track their menopause journey
After studying medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Medical School, London, she qualified in 1991 and pursued a career in anaesthesia, gaining Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthesia (FRCA) in 1997. The following year she switched to general practice, completing her training in 1999. She worked in general practice in Stratford-upon-Avon for 20 years, developing an interest in the perimenopause and menopause, before taking up her current post.
She is a mentor to several clinicians and regularly gives lectures to other clinicians and organisations, and gives talks to businesses about menopause and the effects it has in the workplace.