Q & A with Dr Shikta Dey

3 minute read

Meet Dr Shikta Dey, early career rheumatologist, obstetrics medicine fellow and new member of the Rheumatology Republic editorial board.

Early career rheumatologists and those focusing on women’s health now have a voice in Dr Shikta Dey, a new member on the Rheumatology Republic editorial board. 

Dr Dey serves the community of Western Sydney as obstetrics medicine fellow at Campbelltown hospital and is secretary of the ARA Early Career Group

We interviewed Dr Dey just as she was about to take parental leave in happy anticipation of the birth of her first child. 

Why did you choose rheumatic diseases?

As an intern I was allocated to rheumatology and was exposed to clinicians who inspired me, including Professor Les Schrieber, Professor Lyn March, Professor David Hunter and Dr Rodger Laurent. They also showed me that a work/life balance was possible; they could provide excellent clinical care as well as teaching junior medical officers whilst also attending to their own physical health and family life.  

When did obstetric medicine catch your eye?

In medical school, I thought I wanted to become an obstetrician. However, after completing a rotation as a resident, I quickly realised that it was the medical aspect of care that I enjoyed – I was not cut out to be a surgeon. 

During my rheumatology training I was exposed to women of reproductive age with rheumatic diseases in clinics for pulmonary hypertension, connective tissue disease, psoriatic arthritis and general rheumatology clinics. This inspired me to pursue further training in the medical management of complex patients in pregnancy. 

This year, I have undertaken a fellowship in obstetric medicine under the guidance of Professor Annemarie Hennessy at Campbelltown Hospital. I hope this will put me in good stead of knowing what is normal and what is not normal during pregnancy for the ongoing management of patients with rheumatic disease during pregnancy. 

What was your career pathway? 

I completed my medical degree (BMed/MD) at the University of New South Wales and my internship and residency at Royal North Shore Hospital. My basic physicians training was also completed at Royal North Shore as well as Gosford and Lismore Hospitals. 

Following this, I pursued a subspecialty year in pain medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, as I thought this would be invaluable for a future as a rheumatologist. I then completed my rheumatology training at Royal North Shore Hospital and Liverpool Hospital. 

What is the most likeable part of your job?

Working in a team, teaching JMOs, and working with women who were excited about their pregnancy and meeting their new babies.

Least likeable part of your job?

Driving one hour to and from work.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

Being a yes person is key.

What are the challenges for young rheumatologists?

The biggest challenge for me will be stepping off the travellator. I have known what I will be doing in advance since I was in kindergarten. Now, with the new bub on the way, I haven’t made any fixed plans for next year. 

What do you see as opportunities for research in rheumatic disease?

We are lucky in our field to have so many different and interesting areas for potential research. For me, it’s understanding more about pregnancy outcomes in our patients, and learning more about the use of the new targeted synthetic DMARDs and safety of their use in these patients.

See the full Rheumatology Republic editorial board.

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