As a practicing physician in internal medicine, specializing in allergy and immunology, I’m currently working on the frontlines fighting the COVID 19 outbreak and serving my community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Not having experienced a situation of this magnitude in the past, it is now more than ever that I reflect back on why I got into the medical field and started my journey, and here’s my story of why I do what I do.

The beginning

I always liked to help the people around me, and I would usually volunteer at multiple community events. When I graduated high school, medicine was my first choice for college as it is a field through which I would be able to help different people in various ways and have a major impact on people’s lives in my community.

Being a healthcare professional amidst the ongoing global pandemic

We in the medical field have dedicated our lives to the cause of human health and on a personal level, it is my passion and love. It is a stressful time of course, but as physicians, this is our duty and this is what we signed up for. As for the medical community, it is our call to step up in such situations and level up our efforts for the sake of our community and with this pandemic specifically; the whole world.

In the current global battle against this invisible enemy, it is more important than ever to keep a united front, fight with all that we’ve got, and work side by side to get through this and defeat it. I am proud and honored to be part of this large army of medical professionals who are in the front-lines. I am working with the most amazing and bravest people ever. Also very proud to be working in my country Saudi Arabia where such early and strategic plans are launched.

In our daily work lives as health-care workers, as much as we can connect and provide relief and hope for our patients, many-times we face very difficult encounters and some stressful days. In such situations, we have been trained to show a calm, professional exterior. For me, the key is to step back and remember that humanity is the root of our profession, as well as Allah’s reward for such deeds. I also use the belief that such situations are temporary and tomorrow is a new day and this keeps me going. These current days we are living are one of the challenging ones, and I am fortunate to help.

Valuable lessons I’ve learned that shaped my professional journey

The loss of my father was the hardest moment of my life but it was one of the most important lessons of my career. It has taught me that I can get through a very difficult, stressful, and traumatic situation and to become even stronger! Also, I know how it feels to have a close member who is sick and how it feels to lose him/her as well.
During a hard and stressful period of my training and close to my final board exam, I was considering quitting medicine and changing fields. At that time, I had an important trip to make and during my flight, I had a lesson that reminded me about my “why” as a Physician. An announcement was called on the airplane in the need of a doctor. I reached out and helped the sick passenger instinctively. After that moment, I realized that this is a sign and a message from Allah that being a doctor is for me and I am well fit for it!

Advice to young people in Saudi hoping to start a career in medicine

I want to advise people who are starting their journey in medicine to keep in mind that you have to find your “why” because going into medicine is not easy. But if you started this path with the right values and reasons, it is one of the most fulfilling pathways.
I want you to have confidence, mercy, and not to worry if you feel that you are not where you want to be yet. Also, remember that great things take time and trust the growth process. I encourage you to embrace your mistakes as it will help you grow and be the stronger version of you. Use the obstacles you face along the road to make you try harder. In difficult times, remember there is always a little more in you. Don’t be affected by others' experience, make your own, write your own script of your life! Remember you don’t have to be strong all the time, it's ok to feel weak sometimes, we grow at our weakest moments. Remember, you can’t be productive all the time, you can sometimes even sit back and do nothing. It’s called maintaining a balance.
Medicine is a beautiful journey that is full of joy; treating your patients and the never-ending wonder of discovering new knowledge especially when it comes to how the human body functions and maintains us!

In a few words, medicine is dedication, empathy, growth, and hope.

Wala’a Aljuaid

Wala’a Aljuaid is a Saudi board certified in Internal Medicine and sub-specialized in Allergy & Immunology, graduated from KAU, completed few electives abroad in England and USA. In her spare time, Wala’a enjoys traveling, practicing on her guitar, reading poetry and self development, hiking, and going to cinema. She aims to launch her own beauty product brand one day!

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