Dr Verena Caelius, Consultant Dermatologist and Allergist at DMC Healthcare, tells us about her career to date and how much she enjoys the support from DMC, due to their approachability, flexibility and their brilliant patient care.
"I'm proud that DMC enables me to work in a different country, in the profession I was trained in."
“I always wanted to be a doctor and was the first person in my family to go into medicine”
I carried out an internship in a hospital skin clinic in Northern Germany in preparation for medical school, attending the university at Regensburg, Bavaria and graduated in Medicine in Munich, Germany. Quite early on I developed a passion for research which led to my first job as a researcher in a dermatology lab at the renowned university hospital in Leipzig, Germany. This included 2 years of research in Toll like receptors (TLR) and 8 months of research on TLR signalling at BC Cancer Centre, Vancouver, Canada.
I returned to Germany and started my formal dermatology training at the renowned University Hospital in Erlangen, Bavaria in 2007. I was there for 7 years, being trained in all aspects of Dermatology, including minor surgery. I also had 2 children during that time. Following a rigorous oral exam, I qualified as a Specialist in Dermatology and Venereology in 2014 and an Allergologist in 2016 and started to work in the community more.
“I have always been fascinated by the combination of manual and intellectual work”
You need a clinical eye and very often with skin conditions you can make an immediate diagnosis. Anyone, children and adults of all ages, can suffer from skin diseases. There are multiple conditions and in my role you can carry out surgery, be involved in very complex treatments like inflammatory skin diseases and a big part of it is oncology/skin cancer and melanoma patients.
“I moved to London and joined DMC in Oct 2017”
My husband is half British and we always had the plan of moving to London before my son started school. The move was quite straightforward. I obtained my license to practice in the UK and updated my Linked In profile – looking for opportunities in London – and DMC contacted me.
“I was surprised how easy it was to find work”
It seems there are not as many trained dermatologists in the UK. The biggest change was that there could be long delays if someone needs to be seen in secondary care or admitting to hospital. I currently cover the Barking, Havering and Redbridge areas, with clinics in Hornchurch, South Woodford and Ilford. I also previously worked at Homerton Hospital in their allergy department.
“I like many things about DMC”
- Location – There is a large variety of clinic locations and you can pick the most convenient for you.
- Well-equipped clinics – Internet access is really good which is a huge asset as it would lead to delays if I couldn’t get the computers running.
- Excellent HCAs support – We all have a dedicated HCA (Healthcare assistant) who provides all the stock, injections, makes sure the cryotank is filled up, computers are up and running etc. They are in the room with you which is something I really appreciate. They are really hard working and go the extra mile to support me in my clinic and of course the patients.
- Communication is superb – Patient queries can be handled without delay. There is good communications between admin teams and the clinicians.
- Digital and IT systems – their systems are excellent, for example if a prescription is missing, I can easily do it from anywhere in the world, as they provide laptop. Or I can do it for a colleague. Everything is paperless unlike other places where you have to manually write one out. Here I just send it to the patient’s pharmacy and we don’t need a printer, saving time.
- Digital dictation – this allows you to complete patient notes straight after the appointment and it substantially increases the quality of the letter which is sent to the GP and the patient as well.
“Patients feel well catered for”
Having a dedicated HCA is a massive strength because they make sure the patient is here and bring them into the room, so they don’t get lost in the building. Also, they assist if blood results are missing, they can log in and retrieve them. They help with blood forms, book the next appointment for the patients if needed e.g. for injections or acne.
“I like the session-based payment that DMC offers”
Payment has been recently changed to sessional pay so you’re not likely to cram patients in and you can really focus on them.
“DMC help me with my appraisal”
In the process of the mandatory annual appraisal, DMC support me with providing clinical and colleague feedback, which has been a great help.
“I’m able to combine family life and work life”
I have great flexibility, which is great for a busy family life. The clinics are planned in advance but if you need to make a short notice change e.g. a school issue or if my husband is travelling they are able to move a clinic from the morning to the afternoon for example.
“My advice is to be brave, and you will be supported”
You very quickly adapt to the language and systems. I had no idea what to expect but I gave it a go and was confident I would find a way to continue with my work. Lucky for me everything fell into place.