Women in Surgery Series

The 8th March is National Women’s Day, and in celebration of this, SurgSoc are getting in touch with female surgeons across Sheffield and inviting them to share a brief background of themselves and their career.

Our first surgeon this week is Swati Jha, Consultant Gynaecologist, Subspecialist in Urogynaecology.

People join medicine for a host of reasons, for me it was always because I wanted to be a surgeon. My father, a General Surgeon, would say to me, “Remember the abdomen is like the Pandora’s Box, you don’t know what you’re going to find till you go in.” I decided in my first year of medicine that I wanted to be opening Pandora’s box for the rest of my life. But people don’t always appreciate that being in a surgical specialty requires a huge commitment of time, as it is at the end of the day, an apprenticeship. A skill or an art of any type requires hours of practice so Malcolm Gladwell’s rule of 10,000 hours to be the expert rings true. I have put in my 10,000 hours to get to where I am.

As a woman with a family and ambitions for a successful career, life would be very difficult without good support. I have been incredibly privileged to always have the support of my family, friends and the people who trained me. I immigrated to the UK in 2000, and went on to complete my general Obs and Gynae training followed by Subspecialty training in Urogynaecology. I joined as a Consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals 10 years ago and have been able to achieve many of the things that a teaching hospital facilitates i.e involvement in research, teaching and training both locally, nationally and internationally. Last year I wrote a book on “Medicolegal Issues in Obstetrics and Gynaecology” which is dedicated to my parents. This is one achievement I am incredibly proud of.

In October I am due to become Chair of the BSUG (British Society of Urogynaeclogy). As the second ever female Chair after its founding Chairman and the first from Yorkshire and Humber this is quite daunting. But the confidence and trust placed in me by the BSUG members makes this responsibility a great privilege and a huge honour.


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