Never go to bed angry
Harrison Carter has co-chaired the British Medical Association’s medical students committee since 2013. He is currently a Newton Masters Scholar at Downing College, Cambridge, where he is studying for a master’s in public health between his penultimate and final year of medicine at Bristol University. He was previously a Lister Fellow Student at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University, researching non-coding mutations in ovarian cancer. Harrison holds a bachelor’s degree in cancer biology and immunology from Bristol University. His work was also awarded INSPIRE research prizes from the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust, and the UK Intercalated Degree Award from Kidney Research UK.
What did you want to be as a child?
A train driver. I owned a conductor’s hat, two Hornby train sets, and plenty of books on trains. It was a passion when I was younger, and it stemmed from my dad’s interest in trains and my interest in machines and how they work. Even now, when I’m on a train I think about driving it.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
After my family and friends, Christopher Hitchens, for being an outspoken commentator and for his dignity when diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
If you were given £1m what would you spend it on?
I would pay off my student debt, book a nice holiday for my parents, and contribute towards widening participation to medicine schemes to encourage more people to become doctors.
Where are, or were, you happiest?
When I’m about to go on holiday with my partner to get a bit of a break from my studies.
What book should every doctor read?
The Youngest Science by Lewis Thomas.
What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners at your funeral to hear?
O Magnum Mysterium, composed by Morten Lauridsen.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Monkey 47 gin—when it’s bought for me.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt as a medical student?
A patient once told me that you should never go to bed angry. It’s a piece of advice that has really stuck with me and is something I try to do. I try to extend it by never taking worries home with me, and if I do, I write them down to clear my head. I find that when you read them again in the morning, they’re not as important as they seemed at the time.
What has been the funniest moment at medical school?
At Bristol there is an infamous seminar where the tutor asks you to lie on the floor and encourages you to be at one with a raisin. The learning point was that you should be self aware, in tune with your senses, and that you can truly appreciate something if you take the time to observe it. At the time I failed to contain my laughter.
Do you support doctor assisted suicide?
We need to have a serious debate about the law in the UK, but whatever the outcome, I do not think that doctors should be given the responsibility to perform it.
Summarise your personality in three words.
Extroverted, determined, and anxious.
What is your pet hate?
People eating loudly, slow walkers, and people who discuss work politics on the train.
What would be on the menu for your last supper?
Very rare steak, homemade chips, and a Béarnaise sauce.
What subject should students receive more teaching on at medical school?
The healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. There also needs to be more training on leadership and management—students need these skills to represent their profession and improve outcomes for patients.
What would you like to have achieved by the end of your career?
I would like to have extended my practice beyond clinical medicine and to have helped medics understand how much of a difference they can make to entire communities, neighbourhoods, and institutions by not being afraid to engage in debate about social and economic policy.Laura Glenny, editorial assistant
Competing interests: None declared.
Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.