‘Not all doctors are white men!’: Homerton’s Dr Ronx speaks out about her ‘turbulent journey’
- Credit: onke Ikharia
Ronke Ikharia decided she wanted to be a doctor when she was 12 – because of an episode of ER.
The 33-year-old A&E registrar can clearly remember the exact episode of the Chicago-based emergency room TV drama.
"A patient had a stroke and they were trying out a new method of clot busting using a medicine that breaks down clots," said Ronke, who is known as Dr Ronx at Homerton Hospital where she now works.
"It was experimental at the time and it had worked. I don't know what it was about, that episode, but I was like: 'Wow this is what I want to do.'"
Fast-forward two decades and Ronke goes into primary and secondary schools to inspire kids to follow in her footsteps.
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"Because I came from a disadvantaged background I feel compelled to give back," she said.
"I talk to young people about my journey - from the personal and academic process to the things I struggled with, because I've had a turbulent journey.
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"I think people think if you are a doctor you come from privileged background, but for a lot of people it's not all rosy."
Medical school was hard work for Ronke, who modelled and worked in shops to fund her studies.
Another reason she goes into schools is to make herself "visible".
"When people meet me they think I'm a lot younger than I am," she said. "I don't look like a doctor. It's about letting people know that I'm a black, female, gay doctor.
"If the doctors they see are all white, middle-class men, they might not think they can achieve that. It's important to break down these preconceptions."
Ronke specialises in emergency medicine.
"The shift work and the 'full-on-ness' of it attracts a certain personality," she said. "I like the fast paced nature. I like not knowing what's going to happen each day.
"I like the hands-on nature and that you are seeing a whole range of people from paediatric patients to older folk."
What's more, she is hoping to set up a Hackney group for the Little Life Savers charity, which goes into schools and teaches first aid skills. "It's a lot to take on but I'm determined," she said.