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News > Old Girls' Association > Adapting to COVID times

Adapting to COVID times

Medic Fiona Kirkham-Wilson née Kirkham (CG 2012) adapts to COVID in her professional and personal life...
Interviewed for OGA Chain magazine 2020
Interviewed for OGA Chain magazine 2020

During the third year of her medicine degree at King’s College, London, Fiona Kirkham-Wilson née Kirkham (CG 2012) gained a second degree in global health, which involved completing modules in areas such as infectious diseases and conflict medicine. These shaped her choice of medical elective and before graduating, Fiona spent time working in acute medicine in the Falkland Islands and dermatology in Malta.

On her return, she started work as a junior doctor at the Royal County Hospital in Winchester (not far from St Swithun’s). She was about to start a new position in the Perinatal Mental Health department when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and, like many other medical staff, she was redeployed into a COVID role. Fiona was asked to join a research team working on a project whose long- term aim is to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can help interpret chest imaging for patients with COVID.

Fiona’s practice changed from patientfacing work in hospital to working from home and learning to interpret X-ray, MRI and CT chest images. It was a challenging adjustment to make, especially to working without the company of colleagues, but she was appreciative of the chance to develop new skills in radiology, which is not something junior doctors typically do.

Fiona enjoyed the research, so when the first part of the study came to an end in August, she joined the Research and Development team in Winchester to continue working on research projects alongside her new rotation in General Practice.

Although Fiona’s future placements in the hospital may change as the second wave of the pandemic gains momentum, she is now considering a research fellowship for 2021 - an opportunity created by the way COVID altered the course of her training.

On a personal note, Fiona recently married at Winchester Cathedral and again, due to COVID, had to adapt her plans. Instead of all their friends and family, there were 15 guests in attendance with a livestream for all those who couldn’t attend in person - enabling friends across the world to watch, despite the time difference. Whilst waiting for her at the altar, her husband-to-be, Craig, received a phone call from the hotel they were due to stay at for their honeymoon saying they had to cancel due to a case of COVID. He gallantly didn’t pass on this news to Fiona until the following day, by which time, with help from Fiona’s mother, he had arranged an alternative! On her special day, Fiona wore a beautiful wedding dress from the Heroes Collection by Pronovias, who donated wedding dresses to NHS COVID frontline workers. Congratulations to Fiona and Craig - we wish you many years of happiness together. 

Wedding Photo Credit: Andrew Cockerill photography

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