Dr William Milford is a 4th-year obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) trainee currently based at Bundaberg Hospital, Queensland.
Why did you decide to do O&G training?
Factors which drew me to the specialty included its generality, with medicine, surgery, emergency medicine and imaging all part of the work. Every day is different. Along with this was the potential to pursue subspecialty areas as diverse as cancer surgery, minimally invasive surgery and maternalfetal medicine. I also wished to care for mainly young, healthy patients and families during what were hopefully normal life events, rather than just caring for the sick.
What do you like most about your training so far?
I enjoy most of my training but the intellectual challenge of managing high-risk pregnancies, particularly in women with medical comorbidities, is something I enjoy greatly. I also get great pleasure from performing surgical procedures. The three main modalities of surgery -- vaginal, abdominal and laparoscopic -- require different techniques, which makes operating diverse and interesting. It sounds a bit nerdy, but I particularly enjoy the academic stimulation brought by research and teaching.
What do you dislike or find challenging?
There is no aspect that I truly dislike but challenges are aplenty. Managing patients who have poor outcomes, from miscarriage through to intrapartum complications, is always challenging and stressful, but can be satisfying when done well. Similarly, dealing with chronic conditions such as incontinence or pelvic pain brings its own challenges and frustrations, particularly once the limits of therapy are reached.
I would ideally like to remain a generalist, practising both obstetrics and gynaecology with public, private and academic aspects to my practice. I would like to continue to participate in research and teaching and am currently studying for a masters in public health, which ties into this. In the short term, I'm hoping to find a job in Europe towards the end of next year, preferably in a specialised unit with a research role.
Do you have any mentors or role models?
Probably the biggest influence has been working with and for other trainees early in my career. These trainees provided valuable role models and created inspiration, while setting the standards by which I judge my own practice. Probably my first role model was my father, a practising GP, who used to do obstetrics as well. I remember as a child being taken up to the maternity ward or waiting in the car while he did his ward rounds on the weekend.