On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Dr. Liam West joins me to discuss how young medical professions can break into the competitive sports and exercise medicine world. Dr. Liam West trained at Cardiff Medical School in Wales, United Kingdom and has transitioned into working in Australian Rules Football both at the elite and Academy levels whilst still working in Soccer for Melbourne Victory. He is also working in research at La Trobe University whilst also helping lead their SEM departments Social Media and content creation
In this episode, we discuss:
-Tools young clinicians use to break into sports and exercise medicine
-Tips for introverts preparing for networking events
-The key element to master for buy-in with athletes
-Why you should seek out communication training to supplement your clinical skill set
-And so much more!
Sports and exercise medicine has a lot of traction globally and getting involved in international conferences can lead to many opportunities. Dr. West believes, “You don’t just need a local network, you need an international network.” One of the easiest tools at your disposal to connect with people outside your geographic region is through the use of social media. However, Dr. West warns, “Be very careful on social media,” and always project professionalism.
Gaining access to a niche field like sports medicine requires hard work and self-initiative, Dr. West reminds us that, “People don’t owe you the experience.”
Sports medicine practitioners face the unique dilemma of supporting a team’s success while looking out for the player’s best interest and health. Maintaining professional boundaries is critical to sustaining objectivity and ensuring positive outcomes and Dr. West stresses, “You’re there to work, do not become a fan.”
While experience is valuable, young clinicians will find that athletes care more about your commitment to their success than how long you have been treating patients as Dr. West points out, “Athletes don’t really care how much you know until they know that you care.” Dr. West believes, “Honesty is really powerful with an athlete.”
For more information on Dr. West:
Dr. Liam West trained at Cardiff Medical School in Wales, United Kingdom. During his first few years there he also completed a Sports Science Bachelors degree to dip his toes into the alluring water of Sports Medicine. During his undergraduate studies he set up a student society to promote, educate and offers opportunities within SEM to his peers both in medicine but all areas of SEM such as physiotherapy, sports science etc. Through the national acclaimed success of this society he then crated similar societies across the UK before founding an overarching UK student society and later a European wide one.
These societies kick started what is now an extremely strong and vibrant junior SEM scene in the UK. In his fourth year of his studies he single handedly ran his own student SEM conference attracting 250 delegates - this introduced him to Karim Kahn and Peter Brukner. A role within BJSM followed and over the years this has developed into being a Senior Associate Editor and a role within education.
After his studies finished he completed a Diploma in SEM whilst working full time as a junior doctor. He picked up his clinical work by working in horse riding, the Women's Soccer Premier League and as the England Under 16 Doctor.
In 2015 he made the switch to live in Melbourne where he still currently resides. He has transitioned into working in Australian Rules Football both at the elite and Academy levels whilst still working in Soccer for Melbourne Victory. He has left hospital medicine and is working in research at La Trobe University whilst also helping lead their SEM departments Social Media and content creation. He wrote a chapter in the newly released Clinical Sports Medicine (Brukner and Kahn).
Away from Academia, after playing soccer all of his life he has now converted this season to playing Australian Rules Football and is slowly learning what a true contact sport feels like.
Resources discussed on this show:
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
West, L. R. (2013). Sport and exercise medicine in the undergraduate curriculum. Are we inspiring the next generation of sport and exercise medicine doctors and helping them overcome the barriers they face getting into the specialty? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(11), 664-5
West, L. R., & Griffin, S. (2016). Sport and exercise medicine in the UK: what juniors should know to get ahead. British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports-2016-096631Published Online First: 8 October 2016
To train or not to train for SEM – the medical student dilemma - British Journal of Sports Medicine
What my 13 flight, 4 country sports medicine elective taught me – 5 lessons for success in sports & exercise medicine – British Journal of Sports Medicine
To MSc or not to MSc; a Doctor’s perspective – British Journal of Sports Medicine
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