Wallace Women – Katherine Steele

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Our latest post in our series Wallace Women features Dr Katherine ( Kat) Steele.  As Katherine McCreary she  met her husband Drew Steele at Wallace ; they were Deputy Head Girl and Head Boy of the class of 2004. They are currently in a snowy Glasgow as Katherine is on a Fellowship there. As a pupil Kat also found time to be an elite swimmer! 

What did you study at A level and beyond? 

Maths, Chemistry and Biology at A2 and  Physics at AS , Medicine at Leeds University, MRCP (medical physical examinations) Consultancy training in Cardiology and I’m now on a Fellowship in Glasgow studying heart failure, advanced devices and transplant surgery.

What is your best Wallace memory? 

To name but a few: Sports days, the Sixth form formal, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and everything that went with it , Young Enterprise,  classes in the summer term  with the windows open, hearing the sounds of the lawn mower and smelling the freshly cut grass.

And particularly, my Wallace friends.

What values do you think the school taught you? 

The value of good friendships with those who encourage you and build you up.

I remember the day I first believed in myself and what could be achieved with hard work following an interaction with my GCSE Spanish teacher (Mrs McIvor) and I have held on to  this ever  since.

What are the greatest challenges and greatest joys of your work? 

There is no doubt that any  career in medicine ( and for me in particular in cardiology)  can pose a number of challenges but I am reminded ever day of the awesome privilege that I have to be part of my patients’ journey. Work every day looks different from the last… we (in medicine you are never by yourself) save lives, we have complications during a procedure, we have the opportunity to be kind, we often tell people bad news, we are thanked by families for offering timely life changing treatment and yet in the same day we are scolded for a clinic running behind. A ‘roller-coaster’ would be a good description. What I am frequently reminded of is that I am doing something useful and for me that is great encouragement. In the constant and challenging juggle of being a mum and having a demanding career, exhaustion is almost constant but I believe that one of the best things that I can model to my son Sam is that doing something you love well, is always worth all the hard work.

What advice would you give your 18 year old self? 

I think that often what holds us back is a lack of self- belief. Having studied and lived in England, this is particularly cultural to Northern Ireland. So I would say don’t be your own worst enemy, find good role models and learn from them and in the words of one of my dearest friends ‘comparison is the thief of joy’.

What do you regard as your greatest achievement? 

I’m honestly not sure of the answer to that! 

( Perhaps Drew thinks marrying him! In the film below Drew shares some Wallace memories) 

Drew Steele from The Wallace High School on Vimeo.

Last modified: February 24, 2021