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Dr Cat Roberts

MBChB Medicine, 2005

'My NHS journey has been an amazing road trip with some of the kindest, smartest, inspiring people I’ve ever met.'

Medical Doctor and Training Programme Director, Health Education England

Tell us about your journey to working for the NHS?

My NHS journey has been exciting, liberating, challenging and fulfilling. From my early days as a junior doctor in our local hospitals, I had to learn to apply all I had studied at Warwick Medical School, whilst learning to cope with the shock of being called “Doctor”. I gained experiences and competencies, progressed through to specialist training and finally qualified as a GP. Since getting my qualification, I have had opportunities to educate, manage, innovate, redesign, and find a happy work/life balance. Above all else my NHS journey has been an amazing road trip with some of the kindest, smartest, inspiring people I’ve ever met.

Could you tell us about what you do?

I am a GP, a Training Programme Director for our local GP training scheme, a Clinical Lead for a care home pilot project and also the GP Workforce Lead for our area. My week is a real mix and the days are all very diverse and fascinating. I have a great balance of clinical, education, management and innovation opportunities, which keeps me excited and enthused.

What is the biggest challenge you think women face today?

I think the biggest challenge women face today is challenging and being mindful of how we perceive ourselves. There are still significant hurdles to overcome, such as the gender pay gap and lack of representation in positions of power, however the danger of unconscious bias against ourselves may be equally damaging. I am delighted to see my daughters' generations becoming more aware of this phenomenon. Many of us still need to challenge our own perceptions of our abilities, our strengths, our needs and our potential.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

My mum and dad raised me in such a way that I never really understood the concept of sexism. I was brought up to believe that I could achieve anything I wanted and the only limiting factor was my own effort. As I have progressed through my career I have become increasingly aware of “glass ceilings” and the challenges facing women in society. International Women’s Day is about celebrating our diversity and our shared experiences; welcoming everyone, supporting each other and challenging collectively the constructs which prohibit progress.

What advice would you give to female students and alumnae?

One of my favourite quotes: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be” (Maya Angelou). Genuinely - stop and think when you come to something you think you can’t do and unpick why you came to that conclusion. Last but not least, remember there are little girls watching your actions who want to be just like you one day...model the behaviours you want them to show.

Is there a woman you look to for inspiration?

Yes - she looks back at me every morning and every evening. She reminds me that you can only find your own path, your own successes and failures, your own balance. She reminds me that you shouldn’t be tough on yourself because no-one is perfect. She’s my reality check, my biggest ally and my biggest critic. She’s me, my mum, my daughters, my best friends, my colleagues, my patients, my students and every other female all rolled into one.