Please introduce yourself: who are you and where are you from?
Hi, I’m Will Christian. I grew up in the West Country and now live in Bristol.
And what do you do?
I am a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine, working at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Do you enjoy it?
I love what I do. I’m very lucky to have a job that is challenging, rewarding, humbling and, more often than not, great fun! It is an incredible privilege working alongside an awesome team in the emergency department, to help children and their families at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. To be able to use my medical education, clinical skills, and experience to try and make a difference to the lives of children and their families is a phenomenally fulfilling thing to do – I can’t imagine a better job!
How did you end up doing it?
I first became interested in a medical career whilst still at school. I loved working in the community, was fascinated by people’s stories and wanted to do something that could make a difference to people’s lives. I also love learning how people work, the process of illness, and what we can do to try and improve things. The reason I went into paediatrics was partly height related (I find children relate much better to someone their own size and communicate in a more natural way), partly because children are a lot of fun to work with but mostly because it is a very holistic specialty. In paediatrics, you’re not just working with the child, but with the whole family, which I find very rewarding.
If you were 21 again, would you do something different?
No! I’d definitely choose medicine again.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Working with children and their families, being able to intervene to make a difference, and sending 80 per cent of the children who attend our emergency department home with their families the same day!
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
I’ve done lots of mucky jobs (cleaning out pigsties on my parent’s farm, cleaning out deep fat fryers in the local hospital kitchens), but I quite enjoyed those! Probably the worst job I did was a Sunday newspaper round when I was 13 years old – the bag was so heavy I kept falling off my bike and I was only paid 90 pence for 3 hours work!
What are the best and worst aspects about being small?
The best aspect of being small is being able to relate to anyone else in the world who looks different from the “norm”. It teaches you the value of tolerance and the importance of a fair society where people are given an equal opportunity regardless of age, gender, appearance, disability, sexual orientation, etc.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to your teenage self what would that be?
Enjoy life, relax, and don’t worry what other people think – they’re too worried about what other people are thinking about them to think about you! Oh – and laugh, a lot.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
The list is long and it is very hard to choose – Isaac Newton, Edward Jenner, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson all spring to mind – but in my view, Charles Darwin is at the top of the list. He was an inspirational scientist, establishing the idea of evolution by natural selection through many years of painstaking observation and hard work, challenging the orthodoxy of the time and changing our view of ourselves and the world around us forever more!
How do you like to pass the time, outside of work?
Hill walking, cycling, theatre, cinema, cooking and listening to music.
What’s your favourite book?
Very hard to choose! If I had to narrow it down I would choose “Perfume” by Patrick Suskind for the idea that scent can define how people perceive us and our emotional response to others, “Engleby” by Sebastian Faulkes, a powerful account of an outsider and a sociopath and “Scoop” by Evelyn Waugh as the ultimate darkly comic example of “Fake news”!
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Winning a “Guess the weight of the goat” competition aged 8.
When your time comes, how would you like to be remembered?
As someone who tried to make a difference.