How to have a successful career, as told by a professor

Third year medicine student Michelle recently interviewed one of her clinical teachers, Professor Wall (Director of Trauma Service at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, RBWH). Learn Professor Wall’s tips on how to have a successful career and live a happy life.

Professor Wall is a trauma doctor with a long list of achievements and research papers to his name. He is a well-renowned surgeon specialising in kidney and liver transplants, emergency medicine, and a passionate supporter of UQ students.

During my rotation at the RBWH Trauma Service, I noticed Professor Wall also had a superpower – he is a smile magnet. Wherever he goes, he attracts smiles. Not those obligatory or awkward smiles, I’m talking about genuine warm and friendly smiles.

Intrigued by this, I interviewed Professor Wall to try and discover his secret to success and see if he had any tips for students to make the most of their studies and career.

What would you say are the main factors that helped you reach your goals?

Professor Wall: The most important factor for me personally is my close support network - my wife. I met her as a young medical student, back in the days when I was still studying. I was getting mid-grade honors at the time and felt frustrated as I knew I could do better. She taught me to write clearly and made me conscious of the receiver of my writing and I went on to be top of my school. She continues to support and provide guidance for me to this day.

The other thing which helped me get to where I am today, was the kind people who went out of their way to offer me advice. They were my coaches, teachers and trainer, who took the time to offer me personalised advice.

What is your advice for current or future medicine students?

Professor Wall:  Stay fit. I can’t stress this enough, be diligent on giving yourself time outside of your studies to stay mental and physically fit. With some tough love and deliberate distribution of your time you can do anything you set your mind to. You have just go to want it enough and stick to you plan to succeed.

What do you mean by deliberately distributing your time?

Professor Wall: This means organising your time and prioritising what you need to do. Keep a diary if that works for you and plan ahead to ensure you leave yourself enough time to get everything done. It will even help to write yourself goals or to-do lists for the day, week, month or year so you can feel self-accomplished when you start ticking things off.

Great idea! Finally, could you please share a lesson that had an impact on your life?

Professor Wall:  Go travelling. If I were conscious in my last moments, the most important thing on my mind, would be that my wife and I travelled together. Seeing the world widens your eyes and opens your thoughts, and doing it with someone you love is worth more than anything.”

So there it is, Professor Walls's tips on how to reach your goals, have a successful career and live a happy life.

If you are interested in one day becoming a surgeon or a doctor make sure you check our the Doctor of Medicine program page for more information on studying at UQ. You can also register your interest to stay tuned for any program updates and news.

About the author…

I’m Michelle, an international student from Hong Kong currently in my third year of a MBBS degree. I enjoy backpacking, reading manga, going to the gym, and I am currently learning to play the keyboard. I live by the motto “embrace failure”.


Last updated:
13 December 2016