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 next surgeon is Professor Lynda Wyld, Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant Breast Surgeon.

My career pathway is that of a clinical academic surgeon.  I decided on surgery as a medical student. Knew it would be competitive and therefore did a B.Med.Sci. House jobs were in teaching hospitals (Professorial Teaching Unit at NGH with Professors Rogers and Clark), 1990. Anatomy demonstrator/A+E 1991. Passed my FRCS part 1, then did basic surgical training on the Leeds rotation for 3 years: 3 General jobs, 1 plastics, 1 orthopaedics. Then passed the FRCS part 2. Took time out for research with a PhD in Sheffield:1995-1997. Then joined the SpR rotation in Sheffield, Manchester and Nottingham, 1997-2002. Passed FRCS part 3 and appointed as clinical academic Senior Lecturer/Honorary Consultant in 2002 jointly between University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals in breast, sarcoma and general surgery.

Moved the clinical component of my job to Doncaster Breast Unit in 2015 due to unreasonable clinical workload in STH, which was interfering with my academic work. Appointed Professor of Surgical Oncology in 2017 jointly between University of Sheffield and Doncaster. The Doncaster Unit has been hugely supportive and I have brilliant colleagues there.

Clinical highlights have included my first unsupervised appendicectomy which was a major milestone at the time, my first breast reconstruction without supervision, feeling that I knew what I was doing going into laparotomies part way through my registrar training. Getting my FRCS exams (which are not pleasant exams to take, although I now sit on the other side of the fence as a college examiner and see that the exams are actually very fair). Low points have included failed paediatric trauma and obstetric resuscitations (utterly devastating), taking back my first patient for bleeding after I did the original surgery (a lot of soul searching about what I did wrong) and every time I tell a woman she has terminal cancer.

Academic highlights and achievements have included becoming President of the British Association of Surgical Oncology (2015-2017) and leading the BASO congresses, becoming the chair of the European Society of Surgical Oncology education and training committee. This latter involved 11 years of close engagement with some wonderful European friends and colleagues and the challenges of setting up numerous international training courses and fellowships. I get a buzz out of every PhD or MD student I supervise to get their doctoral degree, every time I have a paper published or present research findings in a lecture and love it when research produces new and interesting data which still excites me.  

I wouldn’t trade my job for a purely clinical job as the academic side keeps me enthused with my subject and gives me huge variety and new challenges every day. I am fortunate to have great friends and colleagues in both my clinical and academic roles which make going into work each day a joy.

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Lucy Kelly

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