Hard work and love

In the first of a new series, Dr Alina Aligera talks about 
her mentor Dr Valda Ligute


Posted: Monday, October 2, 2017

My first mentor greatly affected not only my career in ophthalmology, but also one extremely important period of my life in general.
My story is not just about learning cataract surgery. It is also the story of the most interesting journey in my life that taught me how to believe in myself and the people around me, to love what I do and to do everything possible and possible to fulfil my dreams.
All the time she was next to me – my first mentor and now a very special person for me Dr Valda Ligute.
My journey started with a lot of days assisting Dr Ligute. I was looking at my doctor, mostly at her hands precisely carrying out all the surgical steps as her blue eyes calmly looked through the microscope.

I could never believe I would be able to do the same. Did she believe in me? I hardly remember my first incisions, followed by IOL implantations and other steps of cataract surgery.

However, I do remember the day when I first completed surgery from start to finish. It is still one of the happiest moments in my life, and I was delighted to share it with her. On our way, there was my month-long additional phacoemulsification course in India that carried great importance as well, but I would not benefit at all without my first lessons.

She never said I did anything badly. After every surgical day, we discussed the cases and she pointed out my mistakes. I was not afraid of her and as she later revealed she trusted me as well.

I do believe our common sense of responsibility, trust and patience has helped us on the way. Some people point out our similar traits of character and behaviour. We don’t get bored with each other and we have so many things to discuss besides ophthalmology. But what makes our relationship as mentor and resident so special? Actually, only we know how it all was. There is no one, special secret how to be a good mentor or a talented student. It’s all about hard work, persistence and love.

Dr Alina Aligera is a young ophthalmologist from Riga, representing the Young Baltic Ophthalmologists group

Alina Aligera: