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Women in Science

Lois finished her specialist training and then decided it was a good time to have a baby. After 10 months maternity leave she returned to work part-time. After her second baby was born she took a year off work and then did a diploma in nutritional medicine. Now she works part-time as a consultant in Emergency Medicine at Oxford, and enjoys her other roles too.

Portrait of Lois BrandBackground

at the time of the interview - March 2015

Lois works as a consultant in Emergency Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and is Associate Director of Clinical Studies at Oxford University Medical School. She also works in The Professional Support Unit for doctors, which covers the Thames Valley area. She is married, and has two children. Nationality/ethnic group: White British.

Extended biography

at the time of the interview - March 2015

Lois wanted to be a doctor from a young age, encouraged by an uncle who was a surgeon. During her training in Emergency Medicine she worked with an inspiring woman, who was a good role model. She got married to a GP half way through her specialist training.

the thing I know now from having children who are a little bit older is that although the demands are different, the demands on my time are no less acute ... you need to be accessible and available and it’s hard to balance all those things

In 2004, after completing her training, Lois decided it would be a good time to have a baby. It was a natural break before starting work as a consultant. She took 10 months maternity leave and was glad to have that time with her baby. She returned to work part time in A and E, and because there is a shortage of consultants in Emergency Medicine she found it easy to dictate her terms and working hours.

In 2007 Lois had another baby and this time took a year off work. Having been dissatisfied with the post she had held, she decided that she wanted to do something different for a while, so gave in her notice and did a diploma in nutritional medicine. Using this new knowledge Lois gave lectures and ran workshops. She taught medical students at Warwick on how to maintain wellbeing as a student and as a doctor. At the same time Lois worked as a locum in A and E, and realiszed that she missed the camaraderie, the teamwork and the sense of achievement she felt when she worked for the NHS, so she returned to work part-time in another A and E Department, here in Oxford, where she originally did her specialist training.

In 2010 Lois took on another role, working for the Professional Support Unit within Health Education, Thames Valley. She has a particular interest in helping people design a career to fit their personality, innate abilities, preferences and values. Lois also works as an Associate Director of Clinical Studies, supporting and developing the Oxford clinical medicine course, maintaining and developing education and support provided to medical students. She is paid to work three days a week, but usually works an extra day from home. She feels that has her work-life balance about right at the moment, and says that her children need just as much time of her time as they did when they were young babies.

Personally, working in Emergency Medicine, Lois has never felt that being a woman she is disadvantaged, but from her work as a career coach she knows that some women in other situations feel that there is gender discrimination in favour of men.