Published: 23 April 2021
Medicine alumnus, GP and A&E Registrar, Dr Talha Sami, has recently released Take A Deep Breath: Diary of a Junior Doctor in the NHS During the Pandemic.
The book, which is an inside look at the frontline response of a doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic, came out on 12 April and went into the top 30 on Amazon for books on Doctor-Patient Relations.
Dr Sami is now working on I Need a Second Opinion - a sequel to Take a Deep Breath with his wife, who is currently a Junior Doctor.
As well as studying medicine, Talha has a passion for humanities and went on to study Philosophy and History separately following his degree at St George’s.
He hosts his own YouTube Channel, So Far UNSAID, which discusses topics ranging from culture and the creative arts to religion and politics, as well as sharing his experiences as frontline NHS staff during the pandemic.
Speaking about his experience of the last year, Talha says, “I was completing my GP training when the pandemic hit. There was a lot of uncertainty for everyone and the pandemic affected me personally as well as professionally – I had failed my final exam, my marriage had been postponed, and it was difficult not being able to live with my wife at the time.
“I found journaling my experiences really helped me and the book talks a lot about my personal life because I wanted to share the perspective of front-line staff as well as highlight that we are all humans with our own daily struggles”
Dr Sami, who runs mental health workshops and speaks about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing in his book, talks about how his faith has helped him get through the last year. “As a practising Muslim, faith has been my backbone during the darkest times. The last year has strengthened my spirituality and the book talks about how my faith really helped me through the pandemic”.
Reflecting on his time at St George’s and how it has helped prepare him for his current role, Dr Sami says, “I really enjoyed my time at St George’s. There was a strong emphasis on communication skills, and these skills have never been more important than now in building relationships, at a time when many of our patients have not been able to see their loved ones.”
He adds, “I continue to be in touch with my former tutor, Dr Christina Baboonian, and am grateful for the incredible support she offered during my time at St George’s. I think it’s wonderful to be able to keep in touch as an alumnus of St George’s and maintain some of those valuable connections throughout your career.”
Speaking to current students and our newest alumni at the start of their careers, Dr Sami says, “Be kind to yourself. It might be a challenge at first to find your feet, but take your time and find what suits you. Explore your options, find what you are most passionate about and persevere with that. It takes time, but it’s worth it”.