How One Unlikely Doctor Found His Life Calling

(Photo of Dr. Nicolaides courtesy of KU LEUVEN NEWS)

Many callings in life can be traced to a singular moment that changed everything. This happened for Dr. Kypros Nicolaides, a medical pioneer and world-renowned expert in fetal medicine. Due to his cutting-edge techniques and procedures, many babies have been born who otherwise wouldn’t be.

But you wouldn’t have seen this coming from his early days in college. Born in Cyprus in 1953, Kyrpos was sent to London by his father to study medicine. The problem was, Kyrpos had no interest in medicine; he was only there because his father wanted him to be. So, he busied himself with other pursuits.

Until the college got a new professor who was himself a pioneer in ultrasound, and for the first time, Kyrpos saw the baby forming inside his mother’s womb.

Says Kyrpos:

“My whole life changed completely. I hold the transducer on the mother’s abdomen and a miracle happens…a new patient appears on the screen... and that is how fetal medicine is born. I could not sleep at night. I wanted to become a fetal doctor and within weeks of qualifying, I was becoming a pioneer in this new field of medicine.”

This was the moment that changed everything for Kyrpos, the moment when he connected with his calling in life.

He went from being a disinterested student to a passionate learner whose heart beat so fast at this new discovery that he couldn’t sleep at night. He threw himself into his learning, which became his work, and fetal medicine was born.

Since then, Dr. Kyrpos Nicolaides has earned the highest recognitions in medicine for saving babies, improving care of pregnant women, and contributing to knowledge of prenatal medicine. He has also received more than 12 honorary doctorates in medicine from universities around the world.

Here are three lessons from his story:

Lesson One

You may not be the next expert in fetal medicine, but you do have a calling. The key is to pay attention to moments of calling, like Kyrpos did. These are important moments that stand out as different from the rest, that carry a “I was made for this” feeling.

First, these moments hold a key to helping you understand your calling, so pay attention to them.

Lesson Two

After his “aha” moment with the ultrasound, Kyrpos didn’t become a fetal expert overnight. He still had to put in the hard work of earning a doctorate, completing his residency, and so forth. Just because he had a calling didn’t mean the work was done. In fact, the work had just begun.

Second, with calling, you still must do the work, but the passion of calling can lighten the load.

Lesson Three

Kyrpos had abilities that helped him in his calling. Clearly, he was highly intelligent to get into medical school without an interest in the subject. He has excellent physical dexterity to perform surgery in-utero. His personal care for patients in traumatic situations is exceptional. It appears Kyrpos is wonderfully wired for the work that he’s doing.

Third, look to your abilities because calling is always connected to the gifts that you have. You may have an inspiring moment, but that doesn’t mean you’re wired to do the work that inspired you.

Like Dr. Kypros Nicolaides, you can find your calling, but pay attention to inspired moments, do the work, and look to your gifts.


To learn more about Dr. Kyrpos Nicolaides, watch “Surgeon’s Cut” on Netflix.

Photo of Dr. Nicolaides courtesy of KU LEUVEN NEWS.

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