Tag: Medical school

The value of conversation: discussing with others exposed me to new challenges

A group of students sitting around a table talking and reading

Cate Goldwater Breheny, undergraduate student at the School of Medicine, reflects on their first MEdIC Masterclass and the discussions sparked around diversity and inclusivity.


When I first suggested signing up to medical education masterclasses over the summer, people were skeptical. After a long year of university, wouldn’t it be better to have some time off? Why medical education over a paying job or maybe a scientific internship?

And I confess, I was perhaps a little skeptical too. Yet, it only took five minutes to sign up, and then I had the rest of term to worry about. As it turned out, that was five minutes incredibly well spent.

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Researching remote medicine from our own homes

Student group pictured on a field trip to the Brecon Beacons pre-Covid-19

Our BSc in Remote Medicine for intercalating medical students focuses on exploring medicine in remote and low-resource environments.

Normally students would have an opportunity to travel to the Nepali Himalayas to carry out a research project. With the expedition cancelled due to Covid-19, four remote medicine students discuss how they adapted their research projects.


Carmen

For my original research project, I chose to investigate sleep during an expedition to high altitude. Previous research has shown that human error is the leading cause of mountaineering accidents and at sea-level, sleep deprivation increases the risk of accidents due to human error. Therefore, my aim was to determine the contribution of the mountaineering environment to poor sleep and impaired cognitive performance on an expedition to altitude – using a reaction time application as a surrogate marker for cognitive function. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the planned expedition to Nepal was cancelled and so I devised a pilot study to test the reaction time application I wanted to use at altitude remotely with a small group of participants simulating a night slept at altitude in their own homes. (more…)

How we completed our BSc research projects remotely

Three medical students reflect on how they navigated and completed their intercalated BSc research projects remotely amid the pandemic.


Ioannis Panselinas, BSc Translational Respiratory Medicine

Had someone told me back at the start of 2020 what the year would have in store, I would have probably said that they had stolen ideas from an Orwellian dystopia. Yet the world is currently in the grips of one of the most terrible pandemics in living memory. And among all the global disruption were us 4th year Imperial medics having to face a transition to remote working in the middle of project period. Unsurprisingly, lab work cannot be done from the comfort of our homes. So, as COVID-19 hit the UK, we were forced to cut short our experiments and were ultimately left with a looming deadline and a project to complete.  In retrospect, I think I can sum up my experience with the 5 stages of COVID disruption:

Denial, Bargaining, Panic, Depression, Acceptance. (more…)

My reflections on returning to medical school after recovering from depression

Thivyaa reflects on taking time out of medical school and how it gave her the opportunity to refresh her perspective and gain valuable life experiences.


To say that medicine is intense is an understatement. Sometimes it is so overwhelming that even pausing to take a breath can feel like a luxury we cannot afford. But as I have learnt over the past few years, the consequences of neglecting our minds and bodies are too dire – for both ourselves and our patients – for us to continue in this way. Here, I would like to share what I have learnt during my journey of recovering from depression, reflect on what it is like to take an interruption of studies (IoS), and highlight the importance of self-care.

During the academic year of 2018-2019, I took time out of medical school. The previous few years had been a disaster with regards to my mental health. I had become too unwell, but in an attempt to ‘be strong’ I had continued with second year, only to then fail. And so I was advised to have a ‘break’ and come back to repeat the year in 2019-2020. (more…)

Celebrating transformational changes in academic support within the medical school

Dr Kathleen Leedham-Green discusses our School of Medicine’s recent transformation in academic support.


The problem: some students working hard without reaping the rewards

Our medical students generally work extremely hard, so why were some flourishing, while others were struggling with the academic load or even failing their assessments despite putting in the effort?

In the words of one of our students:

“I’ve worked so hard. I’m exhausted. I’m a straight A* student. I can’t believe I’ve failed”

This was the question that was at the heart of the recent transformation in academic support led by Mike Emerson at Imperial College’s School of Medicine. (more…)

The unsung heroes of Bergen-Belsen

Group photograph of the Westminster Medical School students who travelled to Bergen-Belsen (Credit: Wellcome Images)

The 75th anniversary of our students volunteering in the war.


In April 1945, just before the Second World War ended, nearly 100 medical students from across London volunteered to support the British army. In this group, there were students from St Mary’s Medical School and Westminster Medical School, two of the schools that formed Imperial College School of Medicine. 75 years on, we want to share their stories and celebrate their courage. (more…)

My medical school placement at a Hazelden Betty Ford drug and alcohol treatment centre

My medical school placement at a US drug and alcohol treatment centre
Last August, medical student Paulina took part in the Summer Institute for Medical Students at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota.


The SIMS program has a reputation of being a life-changing and eye-opening experience. Thanks to the generosity of the scholarship itself, along with Imperial’s support that covered the cost of my visa, I was able to take part in the programme with minimal personal expenses. (more…)

Second year of medical school: from virtual reality to refugee health


Second year of medical school

Khadija Mahmoud reflects on the highlights from the past year of medical school – from a virtual reality project that sparked an interest in refugee health to attending One Young World Summit.


I never imagined that my medical degree would involve a project working with chemical engineers to study the effects of a virtual reality (VR) application! During the second year of MBBS Medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine, we undertake a three-week research experience called Clinical Research Innovation (CRI).

I worked with our Digital Learning Hub  and the Matar Fluid Group to study the effects of using 3D virtual reality in learning. Our research focused on transforming medical education in classrooms by increasing interactivity. Working with two others, we managed to plan, design and conduct a study of 36 participants, producing a poster to present our findings at Imperial’s annual science festival for second-year medical students. The VR application showed fluid dynamics within a liquid flow with real-time feedback and could easily replicate blood flow in an artery to allow exploration of pathologies in relation to this.  (more…)

What to expect in the second year of medical school

Eva Tadros reflects on the highs and lows of second year of medical school, from the first taste of clinical placements to undertaking a research project in Thailand.


Ending the first year of medical school on a high, I dedicated my summer to relaxing and forgetting about all things medical-related – but little did I know second year was going to hit fast, and it was going to hit hard.

Second year, along with fifth year, are supposedly the hardest two years of your academic medical school journey, but I don’t think anyone quite prepares you for the range of emotions you’re bound to experience throughout the year. From that sense of pride you get when you finally take a proper patient history, to that indescribable feeling of familiarity as your shoes stick onto the Reynolds café floor on Thursday morning following sports night, to being on the verge of tears after not being to elicit a reflex despite trying for a whole term – second year is an absolute rollercoaster. (more…)

From Syria to South Kensington: Kinan’s journey to medical school

Kinan Wihba medical school

Kinan Wihba shares his inspiring story of how hard work and determination helped him achieve his dream of studying medicine, having fled Syria’s civil war as a refugee.


I am coming to the end of my first year at Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) and still cannot believe I made it this far. Applying for medicine, although exciting, is a challenging and stressful experience and current medical students would echo this statement. My path to medical school was a little different; I never thought it was feasible for me having arrived in the UK as a Syrian refugee with very little English and limited understanding of the application process. Nevertheless, I did my best and it was good enough.

Starting afresh

With every day I survived during the civil war, I grew more accustomed to the fact that I was facing death on a daily basis. I accepted that I might die very soon. So, I was beyond elated when I was reunited with my mother and older brother in the UK, where it was and still is considerably safer to live. However, with the luxury of feeling safe came the loss of my sense of belonging as I moved into this strange new place. Even though I was feeling safe, I did not feel secure; how was I going to communicate with people using a language I had never spoken before? Would I be able to find a school to continue my studies? What if I did not fit in? As much as I was excited, I was terrified and overwhelmed with the uncertainties of starting afresh. But amongst all these uncertainties, I enjoyed the solace of a few certainties one of which was my determination to become a doctor. (more…)