Intended for healthcare professionals


Learning to live in a medical household

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 22 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:235
  1. Kate Billings, undergraduate student (
  1. department of chemistry, University of Cambridge

    My two younger brothers and I have had a very medicine oriented upbringing. Our father is a surgeon with a special interest, and our mother is a general practitioner. Having reached the age of 21, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on how our childhoods have been affected by our parents' profession. My brothers and I have grown up with very different career aspirations to theirs.

    I first began to get an idea of what my parents' jobs involved when I was 5 years old. A local parent asked me what my mother's profession was, and I replied, very proud of my knowledge, that she was a general practitioner. Further questioning as to what this actually entailed revealed my belief that it meant she worked two days a week. I was taught some more about my mother's work that evening.

    While I was always happy to discuss my mother's profession, I used …

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