I wanted to be a doctor since I was a girl growing up in Libya, North Africa. My parents started calling me ‘Dr Khadija’ when I was young so there was some subtle parental influence going on.
I'm the oldest of six sisters, so I feel I have a natural affinity for children - I’m better with children than adults so paediatrics was a natural fit.
Libya is still a male dominated society and there were situations during my career where my opinion was discounted or I was passed over for positions because I was a woman. It was frustrating because career progression should be on ability, not gender.
However, I was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged me to be the best I could be.
I was curious to find out why babies under 30 weeks survived under the care of neo-natal teams in the west but not in Libya, so I moved to the UK in 2005. I'd say the heart of the service are our nurses. Their training and dedication is fantastic.
My advice to any woman considering a career in medicine is to make sure you have a good work-life balance. It’s important to give 100% but work should stay in the workplace.
It’s important to look after yourself well as your patients.