#ProudtoBE: Change and the Future

'In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity' - Lao Tzu. I couldn’t have happily recited that when the lockdown fell upon us like Armageddon in March 2020 and my final CSA exam was cancelled 5 days before it was due to take place.

The uncertainty and pace of change was unprecedented and unnerving. Never had we been in the dark of the unknowns like this before.

Now 9 months into my dream job as a GP principle in rural Lincolnshire, I feel privileged and delighted to be part of a hard-working and supportive team at Spilsby Surgery. Plus, there's the wider NHS workforce that is serving our nation with remarkable dedication despite the pressures. As a black GP, it's been encouraging to have forward-thinking colleagues as allies who see potential, view all people as equals and create opportunity for meritocracy to flourish.

Particular mention to my partners: Dr Stephen Savory for his visionary and nurturing clinical leadership and Dr James Howarth for his clinical acumen plus bold advocacy for patients and colleagues alike. Many young GPs are opting out of partnership and sometimes it’s because of lack of confidence, role models and effective coaching. I certainly found it difficult to find black GP partners who could mentor and inspire me to realise my potential. I hope in the future this will change and I will be part of that narrative.

We still have big hurdles to overcome in terms of racism and recently in Lincolnshire, a First5 GP left the county due to a racially motivated attack. There was also a bomb threat which led to the evacuation of a GP surgery and disruption to services.

I encourage everyone to undertake the Active Bystander Training such as one provided by LMC Lincolnshire. This helps us learn to challenge racist behaviour and microaggressions, which will ultimately help in shaping an inclusive culture of civility. I am also growing from learning and embracing the diverse challenges that come with a rural setting such as: increased workload; staff shortages; less developed public transport and ambulance services; disruption to healthcare services by lockdown measures; ensuing waiting times, etc.

I never thought my Zimbabwean heritage and hard lessons I learnt through the tough and rapid downfall of the politico-economic system there and underdeveloped healthcare system would come in so handy. It scaffolds my resilience and conscious courage. With the friendly networking of like-minded trailblazers in the black women in health group and First5 Lincolnshire, I am also exploring my interests in advocacy and promoting mental/holistic health as well as medical law and ethics.

I really look forward to making positive difference in healthcare for our generation and beyond. Thank you.

About the writer

Dr Von Shuro is GP Principle at Spilsby Surgery. They're also publicity and social media lead for First5 Lincolnshire, and an MBBS5 at St George’s University of London. They studied medical law and ethics at King's College London.