Dr Nick Francis: Lost in the ether: missing perspectives within anaesthesia | Association of Anaesthetists

Dr Nick Francis: Lost in the ether: missing perspectives within anaesthesia

Dr Nick Francis: Lost in the ether: missing perspectives within anaesthesia

Dr Nick Francis

Dr Nick Francis is a Trainee Anaesthetist (ST6). He lives in Northumberland and works in Newcastle. Initially Dr Francis wanted to go into acting. He then did a psychology degree before eventually deciding on medicine. He identifies as a gay man and wears his Rainbow Badge with pride, but has sometimes struggled to challenge overt homophobia in the workplace.

Listen to the audio recording or read the transcription of the interview.


Time code (approximately)
Point of interest
00:01:05 Growing up in Godalming, Surrey.
Early awareness of sexual identity.
His feelings about being sent to boarding school and psychological damage resulting from that.
The effect of trying to hide his sexual identity.
His decision to then do a medical degree.
Being open about his sexuality in university and over-compensating by being very effeminate, "a protective shield.”
Telling his parents he was gay.
His decision to go into anaesthesia and the impression that anaesthetists were "personable, friendly, kind, balanced" compared with the toxic male-dominated environment of the operating theatre.
How much he loves his work, "It's like a little kind of family at times.”
Differences to his workload since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being open with his colleagues about being gay, conversations with patients about his husband, trying to normalise these conversations.
Helping a colleague to speak out against discrimination and being heartened by the response of the senior consultant.
The Rainbow Badge scheme and his feelings about it losing its original meaning when it was used to show support for NHS workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
His friend Mike Farquhar who came up with the idea of the initial Rainbow Flag, and how the badge sparked a conversation with a patient whose son had recently come out as gay.
His views on LGBTQ+ campaign groups, "Gay people shouldn't be part of a ghetto.”
Story of teenage girls on a bus in Scotland talking about their gay friends, and feeling that as a gay white man he is more privileged than many of his white female friends.
The benefits that LGBTQ+ staff bring to a team, "Any diversity within a team has to be a good thing.”
His role models including a female anaesthetist, Frances, "A sanctuary in an absolute melee of crisis.”
What he enjoys most about his role, "The team that I work with.”
The worst moment of his career (story of a young patient who had been stabbed and who died in theatre, and the way his team pulled together and supported each other).
Highlights of his career so far (babies being born, holding someone's hand as they died, the privilege of being there for people at their most vulnerable).
Advice to people interested in a career in anaesthesia, "If you can't communicate with people, or you don't want to, then it's probably not the specialty for you.”
Advice to people in the LGBTQ+ community interested in a career in anaesthetics, "It's welcoming, it's progressive, it's a specialty that actually values the differences in people.”