In this new BJSM blog series, we ask a range of senior practitioners and researchers in Sport and Exercise medicine about their career, and what advice they would give to students who may find themselves in the same shoes that they were once in. The series is kindly coordinated by Dr Corina Bello.
What attracted you to the specialty you now work in?
Working in a multidisciplinary team, engagement in a broad spectrum of healthy individuals, athletes and patients with different diseases, from children to the elderly.
What was the best decision you ever made?
To marry my wife. Other than that – to stop my work in the graphic arts industry and start studying medicine, despite the initial extra mile to go.
What benefit or influence did your first career in the graphic arts industry have on your current job and does it still help you today?
From my perspective it has been a good experience not to start with university too early after school to see different aspects of work. Some skills I acquired from the graphical arts industry help for example in preparing publications, figures and presentations. I like this type of work and it is not a burden for me as it possibly is for some of my colleagues.
What was the biggest risk you ever took? How do you feel about it now?
I followed my mantra and own career path and moved from Germany to Switzerland, hoping, but not knowing whether this would be o.k. for my family and the career of my wife. It turned out to be a good decision.
What 3 things are you most thankful for in your medical career?
Luck, meeting some great leaders that gave me orientation and also working in good teams with colleagues that supported me.
What is your greatest strength?
Being an optimist and team player.
What is the most challenging project you have ever undertaken?
Engagement in the European Association of Preventive Cardiology, chairing the Education Committee and working with people from different European countries on a common European educational framework and sub-specialty certification in Preventive Cardiology, to make cardiovascular prevention, rehabilitation, sports cardiology & exercise more attractive to young physicians.
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself – say between the age of 25-30 years-old?
Be more focused and less impulsive. Try to better reflect decisions and their consequences on your long-term perspective.
What tips would you give to students/junior doctors to improve their career prospects?
Give your best also for the apparently easy and trivial things in medicine. Also, try to always be a team player, even in competitive situations and think of investing in an academic career, even if this prolongs your clinical training. It may open unforeseen opportunities.
Thank you, Prof. Wilhelm!