Starting an eye project in Africa
After taking his college exams, ophthalmology registrar Daniel Morris decided to work on a trachoma eradication programme in Africa. It broadened his experience - and didn't jeopardise his job prospects when he got back
It's more acceptable these days to take a year out during postgraduate training. If you don't spend your time away usefully, however, you may find that doors are closed to good jobs when you return. This often discourages doctors, which is a great shame as many people have ideas for travel and work abroad but don't want to risk their future career.
After taking my college exams I wanted to work abroad for a year. Ophthalmology is a specialty that travels well but I was advised to get a registrar job before even contemplating taking time off. With no break from exams since I was 12 years old, however, I ignored this advice. Deciding where to go and how to fund the venture is not easy (see box 1). A family contact drew me to Africa and in October 2004 I went to northern Kenya with my fiancée to work