Ibreez and her husband, Ibrahim, are junior doctors training in internal medicine at University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP) NHS Trust. They are just two of the many international staff working here.
Ibreez grew up on Galveston Island in Texas, but went on to do her medical training in Bangladesh where she met Ibrahim. After a year spent in Yorkshire, they chose Plymouth, partly because of the rotations offered by UHP and partly for the beaches, which Ibreez missed after a childhood spent living on the coast.
They have loved being part of the inclusive atmosphere of the Trust and feel they have really been made to feel part of the #1BigTeam. They have also embraced Plymouth life, from valiantly attempting to cycle the many, many hills, to enjoying the view of the Hoe after a long night shift.
As for many people, the last few months have been tough for the pair, both professionally and personally. The doctors were already on a rotation in ICU when COVID-19 reached the UK and they have remained there. “I was just hoping my contribution would help,” said Ibreez when talking about the pandemic. Unable to return to the USA for a visit, Ibreez has been in regular touch with her family, including trading stories with her sister who is a doctor in Detroit: “Being able to talk to my sister about my experiences has been an important way to stay sane.”
The couple are celebrating their first wedding anniversary this summer, and had hoped to travel around the States for their belated honeymoon. Their once-in-a-lifetime trip was supposed to have ended with them spending the end of Ramadan with Ibreez’s family in Texas, but COVID travel restrictions meant they had to postpone their plans. Ibreez is very level-headed about the situation: “You can’t plan for this sort of thing. You have to remember that you’re not the only person in this and life will restart.”
Alongside their duties as doctors, they also run a website for other medics who want to train and work in the UK – roadtouk.com. Their advice for anyone thinking about working in UK hospitals in the future is to remember that there is always someone you can ask for help: “Don’t worry about asking for help, just find your support group and remember to pay it forward.”