Recently, I attended an event called Operation Medical School held at Imperial College London. The event was run by current medical students so offered an excellent opportunity to speak to them and find out what studying medicine is really like.
The day involved a breakdown of both the UKCAT and the BMAT and tips on how to complete them successfully, followed by advice on writing a stand-out personal statement and how to survive the interview process. The information was incredibly thorough and well-presented and has really helped me to understand the process involved with applying to medical school.
However, in my opinion, the most useful part of the day was being able to ask questions to current medical students studying at the university. This highlighted to me the commitment and resolve required when training to be a doctor. One student spoke about how they were recently responsible for washing someone who was deceased which was an initial shock for them. This has helped me to realise the difficult situations that I would find myself in and that it is important that I learn how to deal with these, which is one of the reasons why work experience is so important. The students also spoke about the sacrifices they have had to make whilst studying, such as missing out on social events. I understand that this is important as the reward will be great.
Overall, the event was incredibly informative about the process of applying for and getting into medical school and also gave a personal insight into what studying is really like and both the challenges and rewards that it brings.
In Germany, three members of the public have been fined after they failed to either offer assistance to or call the emergency services for an 83 year old elderly gentleman who collapsed in a bank. The gentleman hit his head on the tiled floor and died a week later.
He did not receive any first aid for 20 minutes, when a fifth customer entered the bank and called the emergency services.
Under German law, you can be given a fine or up to a year in jail if you fail to respond to a medical emergency. If they lack first aid skills, people are required at least to alert emergency services.
However, in the United Kingdom, there are no laws requiring people to respond to a medical emergency, unless they are in a parental role or are responsible for the hazard.
I understand the importance of members of the public not being required to intervene in a medical emergency as they may not have the correct training and they could end up putting themselves in danger as well. However, I do think that people should be required to call the emergency services if they witness a medical emergency, but this may raise the issue of what is considered to require an ambulance and could increase the number of unessential calls.
Yesterday, I attended Medlink Free. After travelling to Nottingham University, I had the opportunity to speak to current medical students. I was able to ask them lots of questions, enabling me to gain a better insight into the commitment and self-motivation that goes into studying medicine. I spoke to a student who encouraged me to get work experience in a care home for the elderly or in a hospice; I am definitely going to contact some of these places near me, as I understand that, for a doctor, communication is an essential skill and work experience will enable me to develop my skills at talking to people from a range of different backgrounds.
At the exhibition, I also had the chance to speak to representatives from a multitude of different universities. This allowed me to consider what course lengths, interview styles and entrance exams would best suit me. I am drawn to the idea of doing an intercalation degree in neurology as it is one of my interests, but I need to do further research into this. As the course is very long when doing medicine, I understand that commitment and resilience are incredibly important.
The event was very useful for gaining a better insight into the skills and qualities required to study medicine and I have begun to consider different university courses and which ones would best suit me.