This is the third academic year of my degree but I am more nervous than when I first started. This year is a lot more clinical than the previous years. Lecture halls have been replaced with hospital wards, practicing taking histories by simulation on my peers has been replaced with actual patients with real illnesses and instead of just learning about management of conditions I am seeing it play out in imaging, surgical theatres and in outpatient departments. I am just coming to the end of my surgical attachment at Charing Cross Hospital where I rotated through several specialties including acute gastrointestinal/general surgery, anaesthetics, breast and urology.
Cadaveric dissection is becoming obsolete among medical schools. It used to feel like a rite of passage but as part of the curriculum update at Imperial, 1st year students solely use prosections for their anatomy learning.
Whether you have seen a dead body before or not, it seldom prepares you to what you will see in the dissection room (DR). Over the last four terms of medical school, we dissected the entire human body so I decided to write a free-form reflection on my experience emotionally.
The reactions from students in the first session ranged from being absolutely fine to fainting.
Interview season is upon us. Although exciting, it can be really daunting as an applicant as you each medical school interviews differently so you don’t know what to expect. This year, Imperial is using MMIs (Multiple Mini-Interviews) instead of the traditional panel interview. Therefore, I decided to write this blog so people know what to expect and feel more at ease.
“The interview is not intended to be an intimidating experience and staff will try to put candidates at ease while evaluating the following:
- Motivation and realistic approach to medicine as a career
- Capacity to deal with stressful situations
- Evidence of commitment to the values of the NHS constitution
- Evidence of working as a leader and a team member
- Ability to multitask
- Likely contribution to university life
- Communication skills and maturity of character”
The above list is directly taken from the Imperial website.
It has been two weeks since I finished my first ever hospital placement or firms as we call them at Imperial. 2nd year has been going at full speed, so it was really nice to spend the last three weeks of term in hospitals seeing and talking to patients as opposed to lectures or tutorials.
I was based in the acute stroke unit in Charing Cross Hospital with three other students. Although, we had a general induction from Imperial the day before we started and a Charing-Cross-Hospital-specific induction on the first day of firms. It still felt daunting to go into the ward as we all felt that we didn’t belong there yet.
My 2nd Year of Medical School was a rollercoaster to say the least. I’m going to use a couple of words to describe what was probably the most interesting year of my life so far.
2nd Year was such a blur to me. I remember starting the year off by becoming a ‘medic parent’ to my lovely children who were 1st Year medics. It’s a great tradition we have here at Imperial (and quite a few other unis) where you’re given the option to have parents in the year above you who guide you through the year and can act as a support system especially in those first few weeks of university.
I’d love to say I’ve spent all of my easter break revising super efficiently for my exams, but sadly this is not the case. I’ve spent way too much time ‘relaxing’ and was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Paris. The second year of my course, medicine, is rumoured to be the hardest year of them all. Not necessarily because the content is particularly tricky, but because of the timing. Second year so far has been a whirlwind, and now we’ve got three summative exams in the space of five days in early May.
This blog post was never going to be me telling you how to revise for your exams in medical school- I’m simply not qualified to give advice on studying, (especially advice I can’t even stick to) as it truly is very subjective and depends on your own learning style and what works best for you.
So you want to travel…
You’re a student. You don’t have enough time! Or money?
I recently went on a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland with friends and it was amazing. The weather was decent for mid-February, atmosphere was chilled and loads of cool sights to see all within walking distance of the city centre.
I thought I’d share my experiences travelling and give a couple tips that you may (hopefully?!) find useful.
This usually determines whether you’ll actually end up going abroad or not. Flights can be notoriously expensive, but the key is to be more flexible with your dates and book way in advance.
After a long and cold term of lectures in second year Medicine, you have this new and exciting thing called a Firm. The light at the end of the Pharm-Endo-Neuro-MCD tunnel. Basically, it’s an introductory three week placement in an allocated speciality in a hospital in London (is Hounslow really London?!) You are assigned in groups of five or so, and are given NHS ID cards for your respective hospital (major perk here). I’m going to run you through my time on my firm in the Acute Medical Unit at my hospital.
The first thing to do is get lost in your chosen hospital.
It has been a busy end to the term and it really is getting close to the end now- I only have 4 weeks of clinical time left on the wards after Christmas before finals. There is so much going on right now. I have been busy at interviews for my foundation programme, getting my final competencies done on wards and we recently did the Situational Judgement Exam (which counts 50% to allocations for junior doctor training)! However, this term I have also been feeling how close we are to becoming actual doctors (hopefully). This was made even more clear a few weeks ago when I did CPR for the first time.
As the academic year comes to an end, I thought I’d reflect on my first year at university.
Here’s the thing- we all have a tendency to sugarcoat. We share all the good, but seldom the ‘bad’ times. Sure, there’s the occasional (or frequent) posts about workload and stress; but how many of us actually openly share our experiences when the goings get really tough? Following my last blogpost, I’d really like to keep the honesty streak going.
First term was a bit of a nightmare for me- it was almost a process of trying to rediscover myself in a sense.