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Afiniki Akanet: Life Without Coffee

MB ChB alumna Afiniki (Niki) Akanet has been very busy since graduating from WMS in 2012. As well as completing her foundation programme and starting her specialty training, she has had two children, set up a business and written three books! Her latest - 'Life Without Coffee' - is the first to be published in the UK and is a motivational book which aims to help readers enjoy a more productive and happy life.

We caught up with Niki to find out more about life since WMS and why she chose to write the book.

Thinking back to when you were applying to study medicine, why did you choose WMS?

I always wanted to study medicine, but decided to do a first degree in Anatomy when I didn't get accepted onto the MB ChB course at 18. I chose Warwick Medical School after that because it was a four-year graduate entry course. I also liked the course curriculum and the location.

How did you find the MB ChB?

It wasn't easy but I enjoyed it despite the challenges, because it was what I wanted to do. I don’t think anyone should become a doctor for money or glory - you have to love people and medicine to enjoy it.

What have you been doing since your medicine degree?

I've completed my foundation training and am currently in specialty training. I have also had two children with my husband, set up a Coventry-based babysitting agency called Evasitters and am still volunteering for Forte, Charity for Inspiration, which I founded in Nigeria while I was at medical school.

What were your favourite placements and what have you decided to specialise in?

My favourite placements were in community. I really enjoyed general practice and psychiatry and am currently in GP training - I found this suits my personality well. There were good teams in renal medicine and surgery, but I don't think that hospital medicine is for me.

What is your favourite thing about being a doctor?

I enjoy seeing patients, getting to understand their problems and figuring out how best to help them. It's interesting that helping patients is not only about prescribing drugs - an empathetic attitude and practical advice can go a long way too. It's a privilege to be in a position where people can trust and open up to me. I appreciate my patients for that. I also enjoy the fact that I'm always learning as a doctor. There are so many continuing professional development opportunities and so many career options available in medicine

What challenges have you faced in your career so far?

The biggest challenge has been in maintaining a good work-life balance as a doctor. As a wife and mother, I'm always conscious of how my career may be affecting my young family. I've had to make difficult choices at times, but I feel that overcoming challenges makes us better, stronger and happier.

Has life as a doctor met your expectations? Have there been any surprises along the way?

It definitely has. I always knew it wouldn't be easy. I also knew that getting the MB ChB wasn't the end of the road. It's actually the beginning of an exciting journey of finding out what kind of doctor/person you really are. The admiration, challenges and stress can sometimes bring out qualities you never knew you had. It's important to stay humble, focused and well-rounded. It has been surprising to see what kind of doctor or person some people have become though.

​What advice would you give to current/prospective MB ChB students?

I imagine most of them have heard this already, because WMS has good pastoral care. Work smart and ask for help if you are struggling. Always do your best, but know your limitations when dealing with patients. There is life outside medicine, so it's important to maintain good relationships and gain life experience too, because that makes you a
better doctor.

Tell us about your book. Why did you write it?

My latest book is called Life Without Coffee (Choosing Happiness Over Stress). It's actually my third book, but the first to be published in the UK. It will be released in May 2017, but is available for pre-order now from my website. I wrote Life Without Coffee because people are always asking how I manage to do everything I do as a wife, mother, doctor, writer, entrepreneur and charity trustee (without drinking coffee). It's not actually a book about coffee at all, but is a motivational book that shares how I live and work, while encouraging people to have a more productive and happy life.

Where can we buy it?

Life Without Coffee is available in paperback and ebook formats. You can read more and buy copies at and it will soon be available from Amazon and too. There's going to be a book launch on 21 May in a bookshop in Warwick town centre where you'll be able to get a signed copy - you can subscribe on my website for more details!