Since starting In-spire LS Magazine, I have been lucky enough to interview some of the most influential women within their respective fields. However, I have never had the opportunity to interview a female leader within the medical field. That was until now meet Dr. Patrice Baptiste. This power woman is a School SpeakerSTEM ambassador and if this wasn’t enough, she is one of the three finalists in the Rising Star STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) category at the 2016 Black British Business Awards and one of the four finalists at the 2016 Precious Awards. She is also the creator of DreamSmartTutors a company she set up to help aspiring medical students achieve their dream of becoming a doctor. I caught up with Patrice to find out more about her career to date; to find out why she started DreamSmartTutors and to hear more on her tips for success. #BeInspired

Dr Baptiste it is a pleasure to feature you in our spotlight section of In-spire LS Magazine. Firstly, I want to ask when was it in your life that you decided you wanted to become a Dr and why did that become a career choice for you?

Ever since I’ve known myself I have wanted to become a doctor. As a child, I can always remember being fascinated with medicine and my passion only became stronger as I grew older. My main reasons were of course because I wanted to help people but also because of my love for learning and thirst for knowledge.

Before you made your decision, did you have any other choices for the career you would pursue?

Not really, no! Medicine was the only career I was interested in and therefore all my efforts were focused on achieving my dream. In my opinion, no other profession could compare!

During your time of study, apart from the coursework element of studying, did you have to come face to face with other challenges during this time and if yes, what steps did you take to overcome them?

The main challenges were the intensity of my medical training – in terms of the quantity of work and the constant pressure to pass exams. There were a lot of exams and I worked really hard so I did not have to re-sit any exams! I did not want to extend my medical training as six years was long enough for me! I knew what I wanted to achieve and therefore, I was constantly pushing myself and striving to be the best I could be.

The other thing that comes to mind is my desire to surround myself with non-medics and non-medical interests; I was constantly surrounded with medics and after a while it became overwhelming. During my intercalated year I joined a lot more societies and deliberately joined societies that were not medically related and that were creative, so for example I joined a poetry society. This enabled me to meet new people and formulate friendships. Even now, I have to work hard to ensure medicine does not encroach into my personal life and I try very hard to make sure I have a good work life balance- which can be hard when working particular jobs. I would also say that there was an element of stereotyping and micro-aggressions I faced but I remained focused because I knew what I wanted to achieve.

During your time of studying and training, who or what were your inspirations?

I think my main inspirations were the doctors I looked up to and who I aspired to be like. This includes past and present. I was really inspired by Dr. Barnardo and although not a doctor I was inspired by Mary Seacole’s work, which I discovered during my time at school. Even now I admire certain medical professionals and this helps me to keep going.

Of course, my parents were also my inspiration. Without them I could not have succeeded at school and then medical school. I would not have achieved what I have today if it was not for their tremendous support and unconditional love.


How supportive were friends and family of your career aspirations?

As above, my parents were extremely supportive of my dreams and they did everything they could to ensure I achieved them. They hired a private tutor to help me excel and improve in certain subjects. They also helped me meet the necessary criteria in order to get into medical school- for example helping me to secure voluntary work and work experience in a hospital along with helping me to complete a first aid course.

“I would also say to those suffering with mental health issues that even though you might be struggling to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ there IS a light and so don’t give up because there is so much to look forward to even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.”

You studied at the reputable higher education establishment UCL to attain your medical qualifications. How would you say your experience at UCL shaped your overall learning experience?

My experience at UCL was great, albeit challenging I was surrounded by the best and most able students in addition to the most distinguished and eminent doctors, lecturers and professors. Looking back I was very fortunate to meet the range of people I met from all walks of life and of a very high caliber. This helped me to not only develop my medical knowledge and clinical skills but also enabled me to become well rounded as a person.

You spend much of your time empowering, inspiring and educating others to follow their dreams. You come across extremely confident but how did this strong sense of self develop. Was it from your childhood, personal experiences or an accumulation of other factors?

Thank you! I think it is just the type of person I am – I am very strong-minded and know exactly what I want out of life. I have a clear set of goals I want to achieve and interests I want to pursue. I have always had confidence in myself and my ability even when there were (or are) people doubting me directly or indirectly. I think, partly because I was surrounded by a supportive family; they have always had confidence in me and faith in what I could achieve. Therefore, I want to show others who may or may not have such a strong mind-set and/or supportive network that anything is possible all you have to do is believe in yourself and focus on whatever it is you want to achieve.


On those days that you’re not in best spirits, what do you do to get upbeat and back to your best?

Medicine can be quite challenging and during my year out of training I was considering leaving medicine for a number of reasons. I had to really think about what I wanted. I realised that my passion for medicine and my love for learning was still as strong as ever, it was the system- the NHS- that had made me question my decision to study medicine. I decided to return to medicine and complete my training in general practice. I knew that I could not change the system therefore I had to change my perspective and my outlook if I was to return and complete my training. Medicine can be incredibly hard and can often be a thankless profession. There are times when I get frustrated by the system and wish it was not like it is now. But, when I feel like this I remind myself of why I returned to medicine.

I worked very hard for a very long time in order to become a doctor and I do not want to leave medicine because of a flawed system. I remind myself of all the young people who look up to me, all the medical students who want to be doctors, in the position I am now. I remind myself of the opportunities and doors that will open to me once I complete my training. I think about all the patients I have helped and still have to help. I want to help those people in the poorest areas who have little or no access to medical help. I believe we all have a purpose in life, and that there is no easy road to fulfilling that purpose. I know in my heart that I was meant to be a doctor and I remain focused on everything I have yet to achieve. So, when I am not in “best spirits” I focus on the future and everything I have to look forward to. I would also say to those suffering with mental health issues that even though you might be struggling to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ there IS a light and so don’t give up because there is so much to look forward to even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

In today’s day and age a vast amount of the youth are too concerned with getting rich through participating in reality TV and other quick fixes. What words of wisdom would you offer a young person wanting to move into the medical field or any career field that will take quite a while to achieve?

I will share a few quotes that are quite pertinent here:

“Anything in life worth having is worth working for”Andrew Carnegie

“Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”- Malcolm X

It is so unfortunate that some young people think it is “long” to pursue anything that takes a while to achieve like becoming a doctor and the way society has evolved is partly to blame as you have mentioned above.

But, to those young people who want to pursue a medical career or career that will take a while to achieve, I would say do your research and make sure you are selecting it for the right reasons- i.e. it is your passion not someone else’s for example your parents’ passion. Focus on what you want to achieve, do not let anyone stop you or get in your way (because there will be obstacles in various forms), believe in yourself and most importantly do not give up- “it is always darkest before the dawn” – Unknown.

You’re not only an accomplished Dr but also a successful entrepreneur. Dream Smart Tutors is one of your ventures which aims to support aspiring Dr’s in getting into medical school. Having had a background in supporting others in diverse ways, what made you decide to launch this project?

There were a number of reasons. Firstly, I found that students did not truly understand what doctors did on a daily basis; neither did they understand the career path of a doctor(s) or the history or structure of the National Health Service (NHS). I would often ask students “Do you know what a doctor does?” and I would receive responses like “Doctors cure people” or “Doctors diagnose and treat patients”. Whilst this is true to an extent there is so much more to what we do. I felt that if students were going to sign up to a long degree programme and even longer training pathway they needed to be fully informed and that is where DreamSmartTutors would step in. Secondly, applying to medical school is a challenging process and the right support and guidance is needed in order to gain entry to this competitive programme.

One of the main issues students struggle with is securing work experience in a hospital or GP setting. Again, this is where we come in to help. Lastly, although DreamSmartTutors aims to help all students we recognise that there are significantly more students from privileged backgrounds applying to and being accepted to study medicine. Furthermore, although it may seem that there is an over-representation of BME students applying to medical school, when one looks at the wide range of ethnicities that constitute this umbrella term it can be seen that there are some ethnicities that are significantly under-represented within medicine. Furthermore, there is a lack of diversity within the upper echelons of medicine as is the case with a number of other professions such as law, politics and journalism. Therefore, we aim to help students from BME backgrounds succeed in their medical school applications.

“It’s great to be recognised, but it is imperative to point out that I do not do any of the things I do for recognition. Everything positive I do is because I enjoy doing it and I enjoying contributing positively to society.”

How long did it take from the initial idea of Dream Smart Tutors to its actual fruition?

I had the idea as a medical student but due to a number of different factors I did not action it until this year. I am glad that I waited though as this year was the perfect time to bring the idea to life.

What are your overall aims of Dream Smart Tutors and since its launch how has it been received?

As above, my main aims are to educate and inform students about a career in medicine; to explain to them that there is so much to this profession. I also want to support students as much as possible if they decide to pursue medicine as a career and provide them with role models- doctors who they can relate to so they know that being a doctor is attainable and something they can achieve. Everyone I have encountered has given me positive and constructive feedback. Although I have delivered two courses in schools (which were well received) since we launched this Autumn, I find that it is incredibly hard to engage with schools for a number of reasons. There are so many more students I could be helping but the lack of engagement and willingness to listen from schools is making it very hard to reach a larger number of students.

It is great to see your accomplishments being recognised by the Precious Awards ‘celebrating the success of women of colour’ and the BBB Awards STEM Rising Star Awards. How have you felt being recognised for the work you do?

It’s great to be recognised, but it is imperative to point out that I do not do any of the things I do for recognition. Everything positive I do is because I enjoy doing it and I enjoy contributing positively to society. There is so much negativity in the world so it is important to me that I add what positivity I can. If we all thought like that the world would be a much better place! I am glad that through being recognised more people are aware of what I am doing and I can meet like-minded and extraordinary individuals who are doing wonderful and innovative things too. It is so important that initiatives such as these exist and that more are created because often in the mainstream media Black people (or those of Black Minority and Ethnic origin) are not always portrayed in a positive light. Not only this but young people will see that there are people who they can relate to doing amazing things and creating a better future for them. Young people need role models and individuals they can aspire to be like.

What’s next for you and your projects and what can In-spire LS Magazine readers look out for?

I am currently working on completing my clinical training. Alongside this I will be continuing to work with students in a variety of ways along with pursuing my interests and hopefully inspiring many more people along the way!

Any final pearls of wisdom?

My motto- Dream Big, Think Smart, Always Inspire

How and where can In-spire LS Magazine readers keep up with your movements?

On my website and blog which can be found at:

On my social networks- Twitter – DS_Tutors, , Facebook-



W| By Sasha Shantel                                                                    

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