Generation Medics is a social enterprise aimed at inspiring and aiding students in their pursuit of a career in Medicine. For the past two days, they ran a 2-day conference at the Chelmsford campus of Anglia-Ruskin University, where Year 9-11 students have had the chance to attend a range of workshops alongside clinical skills sessions.
As a mentor for the second day of the conference, I was fortunately able to facilitate my own clinical skills sessions, teaching students how to do a respiratory examination and take a patient’s history. It was a fantastic experience that really tested my ability to recall information and communicate it in a way which can accommodate my target audience and their style of learning. As well as that, it was truly an opportunity that tested my public-speaking skills and my ability to organise/plan a 45-50 minute session which, according to the student feedback, were concise yet very formative.
The respiratory exam session was my particular favourite to teach. Initially, me and my FY2 colleague, began by teaching the students the basic anatomy and function of the heart and lungs, proceeding to measuring pulse and respiratory rate and then going on to simulate the examination via every medics favourite acronyms WIPER and IPPA. It was great to see them engaging, auscultation being the bit they enjoyed the most. Watching their faces light up with pure elation when listening to the sound of their own breathing and heart was hilarious but similarly epitomised how I reacted upon my first encounter with a stethoscope, that being only last year.
For the history-taking session, my role involved simulating a patient who had just had a heart attack. Admittedly, still being a second year preclinical medical student, I learnt a lot from this session myself, making SOCRATES and THREADS the extra two additions onto my already endless list of medical acronyms. Moreover, the students did a phenomenal job of asking the right questions, recalling the information and diagnosing me correctly, to which I was genuinely pleased. Although a content-heavy session, it was gratifying to know that they had really tried to absorb as much information as possible.
I have genuinely enjoyed today and hence I am really glad that I took the opportunity to mentor. Not only was I able to pass on valuable knowledge but I also learnt a lot about myself. Upon reflecting on the day, I realise how much more confident I have become since I first started medical school. This has only been possible through the variety of volunteering roles I have undertaken in the last year and a half. Whether for widening participation or for the medical school, in most cases it has required communicating and sharing ideas with others, which once upon a time would have completely pushed me out of my comfort zone yet now has become an effortless task, and I am glad.
It is genuinely amazing that there are organisations such as Generation Medics, which are there and ready to help students get into medical school. As someone who has benefitted greatly from widening participation schemes myself, I have always been grateful for the work that these organisations put in to ensure every student applying for Medicine, regardless of background, has the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. It is for this reason I choose to volunteer for as many of these organisations as possible, as my way of saying thank you but also in hope that I can also help to inspire the next generation of aspiring medical students.