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Getting to Know You: Ghassan Almeer, Radiologist

Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, Ghassan Almeer is a veteran medical professional, having earned his credentials from Damascus University.

Ghassan moved to the United Kingdom just after the turn of the millennium in order to pursue his career as a musculoskeletal radiologist.

After settling into his newly-adopted country, he accepted a position in the foundation programme at the Royal Infirmary in the city of Hull. From there, he took on an educational role, working for Newcastle University teaching anatomy to medical students. As his career progressed, Ghassan Almeer has accumulated a wealth of experience in the healthcare industry, all the while working towards his ultimate goal of becoming a musculoskeletal radiologist. He now carries out that vocation in a consulting capacity.

In 2006, Ghassan Almeer volunteered with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), offering his talents as a translator to a visiting official from that organization who visited London.

When he has time to recreate, Ghassan enjoys dancing. His favorite dances include salsa, bachata, and tango. He also plays guitar, concentrating primarily on the classical and flamenco genres.

Now a British National for more than a decade and a half, Ghassan Almeer resides in Nottingham, United Kingdom with his wife. The couple are currently expecting their first child.

What do you currently do at your company?

I specialize in musculoskeletal radiology, so the diseases I look at involve the bones, joints, and spine, as well as some more chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and sports medicine-related trauma injuries.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

One long-term goal in my career is establishing a more efficient tele-radiology system. Radiology is advancing rapidly and the demand for radiology is increasing year after year, so I want to use my knowledge to provide the best care for the patients that come to our department for imaging. In my opinion, delivering care through telecommunications—to the extent that it can be effective—is a wonderful use of resources.

How do you measure success?

It’s a daily exercise. If I have a day where I think I’ve improved a patient’s care, then I’ll feel like the day was successful and I’m very happy, particularly if I’ve also learned something new. I measure success based on the care I provide for my patients, so if there’s some specifically good feedback from them, that’s the best measure of my real success.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned throughout the course of your career?

Nothing is impossible. I found that getting to a point in my medical career where I could practice radiology was a big challenge, but I was able to achieve it through being passionate and persistent. I’ve learned that if you persevere and have a goal, then nothing is impossible.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

It’s important to love the work that you do and have a long-term plan, because if you don’t, you’re not likely to be successful. My first piece of advice would be to find your niche. What makes you happy? Once you have the answer to that question, it’s all about being perseverant.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I do a lot of Latin dancing like salsa and tango. I love music, so I play a bit of classic flamenco guitar in my leisure time. It helps keep me calm. I also love outdoor sports, of which tennis is my favorite.

How would your colleagues describe you?

From my feedback at work, I notice a lot of comments that say I’m a kind person and that goes the extra mile to help and support junior colleagues and others.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I try to book holidays regularly and space them out in my schedule so that I have a regular break and don’t tire myself out from working too much. On a weekly and daily basis, I make sure I give some attention to my hobbies once I’m done with work. Those are the main things that help me maintain a beneficial work-life balance.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The hardest obstacle has been getting into radiology. When I first arrived in the UK, I was on a work permit visa which had to be renewed on a yearly basis. I would have liked to do radiology earlier in my career in the UK, but I needed four or five more years of permanent residency before I could apply to practice radiology. That meant four more years of working at something that I didn’t necessarily enjoy in order to build up my CV and work experience enough to apply. That was quite challenging. In fact, I think that was probably the most difficult turning point in my life.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

One possible role model of mine is someone from work who I didn’t really know personally, but he inspired me to get into radiology. Some time ago, we had to communicate over the phone to discuss a rare case in the neurology ward in the hospital. It was tricky because we didn’t know the diagnosis for weeks, but the radiologist was able to give us the correct diagnosis based on the imaging we managed to do. That was what inspired me to explore more about radiology and eventually become passionate about it.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Be confident about what you can do as well as what you can’t do. Trust yourself.

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