A day in the life of an aspiring medic
From the moment I started to study iGCSE Biology, pursuing Medicine at university has always been my dream. Studying in Macau, the opportunity to attend medical based seminars and lectures was never an option. As students at MPW, we are encouraged to independently research our own enrichment activities, building upon subject specific knowledge as well as life skills such as communication and time management skills, essential for life at university. I was very excited when I sourced and applied to participate in The Young Doctor Programme at UCL. This programme included a wide range of interactions between the students and those who delivered the programme, current doctors working in the university hospitals. There were a series of fascinating lectures and activities focusing on scenarios that doctors might face, applying to Medical School and even how virtual reality is being used to train aspiring medics.
At the start of the programme, all the participants were divided into groups. Each group was given a specific scenario involving patient symptoms to discuss. This was an excellent exercise which immediately helped me to build upon the little knowledge I had in this area. Through discussions, we came up with a variety of possible tests that could be used to diagnose patients. I was amazed that through logical thinking and communicating effectively with other participants, we were able to conclude the best possible course of action for the benefit of the patient.
However, the highlight of the programme for me was engaging in virtual reality using state of the art, virtual reality goggles. Through using this technology, I was immersed in real-life medical situations and was tasked with taking action to resolve issues within specific time constraints. This was very intense, and I could actually feel the stress that a medical professional might experience under similar circumstances! I found myself updating nurses, carrying out different examinations and continuously asking patients about their symptoms, all while carrying out several other tasks at the same time. This was very difficult and pressurised but exhilarating at the same time. Dealing with a sudden emergency was another scenario I faced – while treating a patient, his heart rate suddenly dropped, and I had to react quickly while remaining as calm as possible. The whole virtual reality experience gave me a detailed insight into what it might be like to work as a doctor in a hospital environment. It cemented my desire to pursue this as a career.
Towards the end of the programme we were treated to a very insightful lecture about applying to read Medicine at university and the UCAS process. Of particular focus was the personal statement. While I receive expert advice from my Personal Tutor at MPW as well as the opportunity to participate in a medicine preparation programme, it was very useful to hear anecdotes from a medical professional’s perspective. Clarifying areas that I should pay specific attention to when writing my personal statement and being given the opportunity to view sample personal statements has helped to guide me in the right direction. Moreover, a list of career choices was also provided which opened my eyes about the numerous possibilities that exist. Learning that it will take almost 12 years to become a Junior Consultant, while daunting, has also given me a long-term target and a challenge that I am sure I will relish. At the end of this session, we were introduced to the two medical school entrance examinations, UKCAT and BMAT, as well as how best to select the right universities. By categorising the universities into three different types, it was strongly suggested that the best course of action is to choose the one that suits the individual best, rather than choosing the one that is ranked the most highly.
Overall, this programme has been a huge help and inspiration. From handy tips when it comes to applying to medical school to experiencing what life as a medical professional might look like, I have come away armed with essential knowledge. More importantly, it has reminded me what an essential and rewarding role in society I could be playing in years to come.