Yesterday at school, a 4th year medical student from Birmingham University gave a talk to the sixth form. The talk was useful and it was interesting to get an insight into what life as a medical student is like. He gave us advice about getting into medical school; by getting varied relevant work experience, following medical news, and preparing for the admissions tests. He also told us some of the questions which come up at interviews, and about what the courses are like, e.g. integrated, PBL, or traditional. Then he explained the difference between prosections and dissections, and he also told us about doing an intercalated degree which sounds like an amazing experience, as you have the opportunity to travel anywhere.
On Monday, I attended a MedSoc talk at school, given by Professor Alan Dronsfield, a retired Professor of the History of Science at Derby University. It was a very interesting talk all about the use and abuse of cocaine, and you can see more about it here. I found it fascinating that before it was realised cocaine had harmful effects, it was used in soft drinks like Coca-Cola. It was also used as an anaesthetic for tooth fillings and for other surgery, which was quite dangerous as doctors were sometimes unsure about the right dosage to give. In addition, many surgeons and dentists became addicted to it, and a safer alternative was looked for by chemists. Procaine, which was derived from cocaine, was synthesised instead, and was still being used as an anaesthetic in the 1960s.
I think we are very lucky to have a medical society at school, and to have the chance to hear from interesting medical professionals. I would like to thank Professor Dronsfield for giving up his time to talk to us.