Dr Sonita Alexander (GP)
Dr Sonita Alexander is satisfied, happy and living her best life. Having just celebrated her 30th birthday last week, the family doctor at Riverside Medical Clinic reflected on the last decade of her life and marvelled at how far she’s come.
In a telephone interview with EASY while in Jamaica for her birthday celebrations, Sonita said that where she’s at now is where she has always wanted to be.
“Every single thing that I wanted to achieve I’ve achieved so far. I’m definitely proud and happy of what I’ve achieved so far. I always considered myself very privileged and blessed to have had the opportunity to pursue my dream and to achieve that at 30. And to now start a new journey at Riverside Medical Clinic is where I wanted to be at 30,” she said.
But what exactly has her journey been like for the last ten years? The former Deacons Primary School and Combermere student has completed her Doctor of Medicine (DM) degree, (graduating valedictorian of her medicine class in 2011), a five-year residency programme at Wildey Polyclinic, and her masters in family medicine, which she graduated from last year with distinction.
For her, all she has done has been a dream come true.
“I’ve definitely always wanted to become a doctor from the very beginning. Once I was in medical school I decided to pursue a career in family medicine. The hardest part was deciding which area I wanted to go into, but I love all kinds of people from young to old so family medicine was the perfect fit for me. Med school was hard, though, because I felt like that’s all I did. But I just kept going and once I found the balance after med school I was happy doing it,” Sonita said.
Since completing her residency, Sonita has now become a private doctor. She told EASY that she loves it.
“I have gone fully private and I’ve recently teamed up with Dr Peter Adams at Riverside Medical Clinic on River Road. I enjoy it thoroughly because I really love people and I love interacting with my patients and I can definitely say medicine is something I want to do forever,” Sonita added confidently.
Apart from being a doctor, Sonita is a highly sociable person and loves to party. But where does she find the time with such a demanding career?
“Outside of being a doctor, I enjoy planning events. I love running. As a previous CARIFTA [Games] athlete, I still run on evenings. Yes, being a doctor is very demanding. But I’m naturally a fun-loving person and I’m very deep in loving my friends and my family. I think having a support system is the most important thing. Outside of that I love soca, I love Carnival, Crop Over . . . anything that’s cultural.”
“During med school I spent a lot of time perfecting medicine. But over the last five years of my residency programme I made sure I found a balance. I switched it around. My family and my friends came first and I was still able to get a master’s with distinction and I was able to complete my DM fully in time,” she added.
And even though she has reached such heights in her career, Sonita told EASY she now has plans to take her career even further.
“For the next two to three years I want to focus on building the clinic. This year I really want to focus on working with Dr Adams to build the clinic where patients can access high quality health care. I think that is what I want my 30th year to focus on – so that’s my main goal right now. Outside of that I want to get into research and academia. I want to lecture as well,” she said, adding that children and marriage are definitely on the cards for her.
And as she continues to advance in the medical field, Sonita said she hopes to see hopes to see a more inclusive environment for women.
“I think women have to fight to be recognised and respected. But I think over the years the field of medicine has changed where there are more female doctors than male doctors.”
“I would like to see the workplace adjust more for females. I would like that most workplaces would have things like a breastfeeding unit that when females have to take time off for their children that it’s a more understanding situation rather than you being seen as inferior because you have to take time out to carry the kids to the doctor . . . .”
The young, down-to-earth doctor encouraged all those currently pursuing a career in medicine or contemplating one to go for it but to understand fully what they are really getting into.
“I would definitely advise them to have a plan. Know what career you want to get into and make sure that you understand what that career needs from you. And know that everything can be achieved,” she stressed.
Sonita told EASY she lives by one particular quote which motivated her every day and she hoped it would serve as motivation for others as well.
“I live by ‘Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it’. That is something that has been with me since Combermere days. One of my coaches used to tell me that. I had a reminder on my phone since I was about 16 and each day I’m motivated by that in every aspect of my life,” she said.
She thanked all who contributed and played a part in her career thus far.
“I thank the Lord, my parents, my family, friends, Dr Peter Adams and my support system at Combermere for all they have done for me because it wouldn’t have been possible without any of them,” she said.
“It’s been a long, challenging and very interesting journey, but I’ve enjoyed it. I have learnt so much and I’ve matured a lot for my age because of it. Being a doctor from an early age forced me to mature from very early. Enjoying what I do made the journey a lot easier. I’m very happy. I’m definitely living my best life,” she said happily. (DB)