How does she manage?: Plastic surgeon - Dalia Nield, The London Clinic

When did you become a manager?

I switched to private practice from the NHS in 1995, when the Government tried to close St Bartholomew's hospital, London, where I was a consultant.

What does management mean to you?

It's a balancing act. I specialise in reconstructive work with cancer patients, but I couldn't do it all the time - it's too stressful, and you can't cry all day. So I also do cosmetic surgery. My role in that is the same - improving people's lives - and both are equally important. Selecting patients is difficult. I reject patients I don't feel comfortable with. This is tough when you've been trained to do good for everyone. But the patient-surgeon relationship is very intimate and has to be right. In the NHS I was part of a team; now I'm on my own, my patients are my patients and, if they're cancer victims, they're mine for life.

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