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So you want to be a medical student: READ THIS!

There are so many sources for advice out there for potential medical students. So many books, so many forums, so many careers advice people, and so many confusing and scary myths, that I thought it might be useful to just put up some simple guidelines on what is required to become a medical student and a short book list to get your started. I am now in my 5th year at university and my 4th year of actual medicine. Since getting into Medical School in 2009 I have gone back to my 6th form college in South Wales at least once a year to talk to the students who wanted to become medical or dental students, to offer some advice, answer any queries that I could. This year, I tried to to do the same sort of thing for high achieving pupils at my old comprehensive, because if you don't get the right advice young enough then you won't be able to do everything that is required of you to get into Medical school straight after your A-levels. Unfortunately, due to some new rules I wasn't allowed to. So, since I couldn't give any advice in person I thought that a blog might be the easiest alternative way to give young comprehensive students a guide in the right direction. So here goes... How to get into medical school: You must show that you have the academic capacity to cope with the huge volume of information that will try to teach you and that you have the determination/tenacity to achieve what you need to. To show this you must get good grades: a. >8A*s at GCSE + separate science modules if possible = you have to be able to do science. b. >3A’s at A-Level = Chemistry + Biology + anything else you want, as long as you can get an A. 2. You must have an understanding of what Medicine really involves: a. Work experience with a doctor – local GP, hospital work experience day, family connections, school connections – you should try to get as much as you can but don’t worry if you can’t because you can make up for it in other areas. b. Work experience with any health care professional – ask to see what a nurse/ physio/ health care assistant/ phlebotomist/ ward secretary does. Any exposure to the clinical environment will give you an insight into what happens and gives you something to talk about during personal statements and interviews. c. Caring experience – apply to help out in local care homes, in disabled people’s homes, at charities, look after younger pupils at school. All these sorts of things help to show that you are dedicated, motivated and that you want to help people. 3. Be a fully rounded human being: a. Medical schools do not want robots! They want students who are smart but who are also able to engage with the common man. So hobbies and interests are a good way of showing that you are more than just a learner. b. Playing on sports teams allows you to write about how you have developed as a person and helps you develop essential characteristics like team work, fair play, learning to follow commands, learning to think for yourself, hand-eye co-ordination etc. etc. All valuable for a career in medicine. c. Playing an instrument again shows an ability to learn and the will power to sit and perfect a skill. It also provides you with useful skills that you can use to be sociable and make friends, such as joining student choirs, orchestras and bands or just playing some tunes at a party. d. Do fun things! Medicine is hard work so you need to be able to do something that will help you relax and allow you to blow off some stress. All work and no play, makes a burnt out wreck! 4. Have a basic knowledge of: a. The news, especially the health news – Daily Telegraph health section on a Monday, BBC news etc. b. The career of a doctor – how does it work? How many years of training? What roles would you do? What exams do you need to pass? How many years at medical school? c. The GMC – know about the “Tomorrow’s Doctor” Document – search google. d. The BMA e. The Department of Health and NHS structure – know the basics! GP commissioning bodies, strategic health authorities. f. What the Medical School you are applying to specialises in, does it do lots of cancer research? Does it do dissection? Does it pride itself on the number of GPs it produces? Does it require extra entry exams or what is the interview process? These 4 points are very basic and are just a very rough guide to consider for anyone applying to become a medical student. There are many more things you can do and loads of useful little tips that you will pick up along the way. If anyone has any great tips they would like to share then please do leave them as a comment below! My final thought for this blog is; READ, READ and READ some more. I am sure that the reason I got into medical school was because I had read so many inspiring and thought provoking books, I had something to say in interviews and I had already had ideas planted in my head by the books that I could then bring up for discussion with the interview panel when asked about ethical dilemmas or where medicine is going. Plus reading books about medicine can be so inspiring that they really can push your life in a whole new direction or just give you something to chat about with friends and family. Everyone loves to chat people – how they work, why they are ill, what shapes peoples' personalities etc and these are all a part of medicine that you can read into! Book Recommendations Must reads: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trust-Me-Im-Junior-Doctor/dp/0340962054/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240729&sr=1-1&keywords=trust+me+i%27m+a+junior+doctor http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Fall-Modern-Medicine/dp/0349123756/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240763&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rise+and+fall+of+modern+medicine http://www.amazon.co.uk/Selfish-Gene-30th-Anniversary/dp/0199291152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240793&sr=1-1&keywords=the+selfish+gene http://student.bmj.com/student/student-bmj.html http://www.newscientist.com/subs/offer?pg=bdlecpyhvyhuk1306&prom=1234&gclid=CLT0tZ3Wu7gCFfLHtAodWwUAyA http://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Mistook-His-Wife/dp/B005M1NBYY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240909&sr=1-3&keywords=the+man+who+mistook+his+wife+for+a+hat http://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Surgeons-Performance-Atul-Gawande/dp/1861976577/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374240987&sr=1-1&keywords=better+atul+gawande http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Black-Swan-Samuel-Shem/dp/0552991228/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241124&sr=1-1&keywords=the+house+of+god+samuel+shem http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Science-Ben-Goldacre/dp/000728487X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241298&sr=1-1&keywords=bad+science+ben+goldacre Thought provokers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complications-Surgeons-Notes-Imperfect-Science/dp/1846681324/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241026&sr=1-1&keywords=atul+gawande+complications http://www.amazon.co.uk/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/dp/1846683149/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241049&sr=1-1&keywords=atul+gawande+checklist http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brave-New-World-Aldous-Huxley/dp/0099518473/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241067&sr=1-1&keywords=aldous+huxley http://www.amazon.co.uk/Island-Aldous-Huxley/dp/0099477777/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241093&sr=1-1&keywords=aldous+huxley+island http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mount-Misery-Samuel-Shem/dp/055277622X/ref=pd_sim_b_4 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Psychopath-Test-Jon-Ronson/dp/0330492276/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241180&sr=1-1&keywords=the+psychopath+test http://www.amazon.co.uk/Drugs-Without-Minimising-Harms-Illegal/dp/1906860165/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241197&sr=1-1&keywords=drugs+without+the+hot+air http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0091906814/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374241222&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+win+friends+and+influence+people http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Pharma-companies-mislead-patients/dp/0007350740/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y Final Final Thought: Just go into your local book shop or library and go to the pop-science section and read the first thing that takes your interest! It will almost always give you something to talk about.  
jacob matthews
over 6 years ago
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Keep on Truckin’

Shattered. Third consecutive day of on-calls at the birth centre. I’m afraid I have little to show for it. The logbook hangs limply at my side, the pages where my name is printed await signatures; surrogate markers of new found skills. Half asleep I slump against the wall and cast my mind back to the peripheral attachment from which I have not long returned. The old-school consultant’s mutterings are still fresh: “Medical education was different back then you see....you are dealt a tough hand nowadays.” I quite agree, it is Saturday. Might it be said the clinical apprenticeship we know today is a shadow of its former self? Medical school was more a way of life, students lived in the hospital, they even had their laundry done for them. Incredulous, I could scarcely restrain a chuckle at the consultant’s stories of delivering babies while merely a student and how the dishing out of “character building” grillings by their seniors was de rigeur. Seldom am I plied with any such questions. Teaching is a rare commodity at times. Hours on a busy ward can bear little return. Frequently do I hear students barely a rotation into their clinical years, bemoan a woeful lack of attention. All recollection of the starry-eyed second year, romanced by anything remotely clinical, has evaporated like the morning dew. “Make way, make way!...” cries a thin voice from the far reaches of the centre. A squeal of bed wheels. The newly crowned obs & gynae reg drives past the midwife station executing an impressive Tokyo drift into the corridor where I stand. Through the theatre doors opposite me he vanishes. I follow. Major postpartum haemorrhage. A bevy of scrubs flit across the room in a live performance of the RCOG guidelines for obstetric haemorrhage. They resuscitate the women on the table, her clammy body flat across the carmine blotched sheets. ABC, intravenous access and a rapid two litres of Hartmann’s later, the bleeding can not be arrested by rubbing up contraction. Pharmacological measures: syntocinon and ergometrine preparations do not staunch the flow. Blood pressure still falling, I watch the consciousness slowly ebb from the woman’s eyes. Then in a tone of voice, seemingly beyond his years, the reversely gowned anaesthetist clocks my badge and says, “Fetch me the carboprost.” I could feel an exercise in futility sprout as I gave an empty but ingratiating nod. “It’s hemabate....in the fridge” he continues. In the anaesthetic room I find the fridge and rummage blindly through. Thirty seconds later having discovered nothing but my general inadequacy, I crawl back into theatre. I was as good as useless though to my surprise the anaesthetist disappeared and returned with a vial. Handing me both it and a prepped syringe, he instructs me to inject intramuscularly into the woman’s thigh. The most common cause of postpartum haemorrhage is uterine atony. Prostaglandin analogues like carboprost promote coordinated contractions of the body of the pregnant uterus. Constriction of the vessels by myometrial fibres within the uterine walls achieves postpartum haemostasis. This textbook definition does not quite echo my thoughts as I gingerly approach the operating table. Alarmingly I am unaware that aside from the usual side effects of the drug in my syringe; the nausea and vomiting, should the needle stray into a nearby vessel and its contents escape into the circulation, cardiovascular collapse might be the unfortunate result. Suddenly the anaesthetist’s dour expression as I inject now assumes some meaning. What a relief to see the woman’s vitals begin to stabilise. As we wheel her into the recovery bay, the anaesthetist unleashes an onslaught of questions. Keen to redeem some lost pride, I can to varying degrees, resurrect long buried preclinical knowledge: basic pharmacology, transfusion-related complications, the importance of fresh frozen plasma. Although, the final threat of drawing the clotting cascade from memory is a challenge too far. Before long I am already being demonstrated the techniques of regional analgesia, why you should always aspirate before injecting lidocaine and thrust headlong into managing the most common adverse effects of epidurals. To have thought I had been ready to retire home early on this Saturday morning had serendipity not played its part. A little persistence would have been just as effective. It’s the quality so easily overlooked in these apparently austere times of medical education. And not a single logbook signature gained. Oh the shame! This blog post is a reproduction of an article published in the Medical Student Newspaper, February 2014 issue.  
James Wong
over 5 years ago
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Ask Skeptical Scalpel: A med student loves open surgery, asks about the future of pediatric surgery

I also had the wish to be a classic general surgeon. My 5-year experience as a rural surgeon and stints abroad as volunteer surgeon are the closest I've found. Very satisfying!  
askskepticalscalpel.blogspot.co.uk
about 4 years ago
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4
302

Cardiovascular Physiology Concepts by Richard E. Klabunde, PhD

This site is a web-based resource of cardiovascular physiology concepts that has been written for students, teachers, and health professionals. The contents of this site can be entered by several different routes. Searches can be conducted on individual words or phrases, keywords can be used to link to specific topics, a clinical-based content outline provides an organizational structure for the content, and tutorials can be used to course through the contents.  
cvphysiology.com
about 4 years ago
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1157

A Day in the Life of a 2nd Year Medical Student

My husband and I are both currently fourth year med students, but over a year and a half ago I brought my iPod touch around with me and videoed a typical day of a second year med student.  
youtube.com
almost 4 years ago
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Ask a Medical Student: What Was Your Path to Med School Like? (Part 1)

Medical students share their varied paths to medical school in this video from the “Ask a Med Student” video series. (Part 1 of 2)  
youtube.com
almost 4 years ago
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The Enemy Within: Factors impacting on alienation and engagment in Pathology registrars

Education in South Africa is characterised by historical inequalities that may lead to poor learning experiences and performance, especially amongst groups that experience isolation and disaffection. The perspective of alienated and engaged experiences of learning, taking into account the student’s social and cultural context may be more valuable to study than only focusing on approaches to learning. Aims of project: To determine the factors that have an impact on a student’s perceptions of engagement and alienation in the postgraduate pathology environment at Stellenbosch University. A cross-sectional case study through semi-structured interviews, investigating 17 postgraduate students in Pathology selected by purposive sampling, were undertaken, exploring aspects of alienation and engagement. Conclusion Factors can change have been identified and support systems that may impact on students’ learning experiences and throughput can be developed. With a view to addressing the intellectual capacity and health care needs in the country, it is crucial that these issues be investigated and adressed.  
Juanita Bezuidenhout
almost 10 years ago
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“Summative Assessment is a Waste of Time!” Students’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of an Assessment Programme

This is a qualitative research performed at King Saud Bin Abdulaziz university for Health Sciences, College of Medicine. Its objective is to understand how and why students differ in their approaches to learning, how assessment affects deep learning and which barriers stand in the way of good assessment and learning  
Hanan Al kadri
almost 10 years ago
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Teaching public health in medical schools: a case study in three universities in Paraná - Brazil

Historically, different concepts of Public Health have influenced the specific teaching of this field of knowledge as well as medical education. The objective of this paper is to study the teaching of Public Health in medical schools, focusing on its structure and implications in curriculum design in three universities in Paraná - Brazil: State University of Londrina (UEL), Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and the Positivo University (UnicenP). The research questions focused on the content of Public Health selected in their respective curricula, the teaching-learning relationships, program emphasis and the partnerships established with public health services. Qualitative research data collection from the perspective of key informants was carried out based on the analysis of pedagogical projects and on how they were effectively experienced. Eleven managers and 18 teachers were interviewed and 4 focus groups with students were developed in the three universities. Outcomes showed the presence of between 5% to 20% of Public Health themes in the course syllabi, depending on the teaching strategies used. However, they always appeared associated with academic issues strongly linked to health services, which were strengthened by the local development of the Comprehensive Health Care System in the two cities, Curitiba and Londrina in which studies were carried out. Public Health is present and very relevant in the curriculum required for doctors’ qualification regardless of the characteristics of the university studied, the bureaucratic and academic course structures and the different methods for hiring teachers. Besides not being a main articulator axis in two of the medical courses studied, Public Health provides the necessary balance for the technical dimension of medical knowledge, represented by the awareness of the challenges and commitment to the reality. On the contrary, because of the complexity of medical education, the strong presence of Public Health in the other medical course studied not necessarily guarantees the ideal qualification of the medical professional.  
João Campos
almost 10 years ago
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Student Fitness to Practise Cases on Attitude and Behaviour

Some student fitness to practise cases which illustrate the significance of the attitude of the doctor under investigation.  
Vicki Haley
almost 9 years ago
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Drinking and Driving: Why do we have a limit?

The current GCSE science curriculum expects students to undertake a module about ‘drink-driving’. This requires students to consider whether the drink-drive limit in the UK should be zero. The highest number of drink-drive related accidents is observed in younger age groups; current campaigns preach a ‘don’t drink and drive’ message, but do not provide a balanced argument to demonstrate reasons for this. I produced a booklet aimed at 14-18 year olds to support the GCSE science curriculum and to aid general understanding of why we have a drink-drive limit in the UK. The booklet is designed to stimulate original thought and understanding, in accordance with Piaget’s theory of assimilation and accommodation. I conducted a thorough learning needs assessment and delivered an initial teaching session to a group of GCSE students. Their feedback helped to guide my development of a final resource in the format of an interactive booklet. Although drink-drive campaigns feature regularly in the media, this age group is often overlooked, as many are not yet able to drive. My resource is not aimed to echo these campaigns, but to support understanding of why they might exist. It also ties in with GCSE science curriculum, and can be used as an aid to coursework by students. Helping students of this age to gain a basic understanding of ‘drink-driving’ and stimulating them to form their own views and opinions may influence their future behaviours and attitudes.  
Leonie Eastlake
over 8 years ago
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Living with Mental Illness - A Student's Guide

Living with Mental Illness - A Student's Guide was created during a 3rd year SSC project to develop mental health e-learning resources for 3rd year medical students at the University of Leeds. The aim was to create a resource for medical students' personal learning and understanding of the implications of living with a mental health disorder, and the stigma surrounding it. The document contains information about stigma in mental illness, interviews with people living with a mental illness, and a poem written by one of the interviewees.  
Charmian Reynoldson
over 7 years ago
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Ministry of Ethics

Ministry of Ethics.co.uk is a non-commercial student-run project aiming to bring learning about Medical Ethics and Law (MEL) into the Web 2.0 era. The website has revision notes, MCQs & EMQs, case videos and scenarios, and allows discussions with other students and professors or lecturers from across the UK and beyond. The website is the perfect revision resource for medical students, clinical students and juniors doctors to learn more about MEL. Doctors are so much more than walking books of facts; they are faced with ethically and legally challenging situations throughout their professional lives. Medical ethics education helps make students aware of the situations that they will face in the clinical setting and suggests appropriate ways of approaching them. In the long term, it aids the development of moral and ethical reasoning that will allow student doctors to understand other people's views, helping them to become more empathetic and caring clinicians. Since it's creation, our website has won a number of prizes including: - Winning Presentation at the 2011 Fifth Conference on Medical Ethics and Law, 2011 BMA Book Awards Highly Commended, 2011 BMJ onExamination Best National E-Learning Resource Prize. We hope you enjoy looking at our site and in particular the case scenarios and interactive question bank.  
Mark Baxter
over 7 years ago
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The (Peninsula) medical student's guide to healthy eating

I am a 4th year medical student, about to go into my final year and I created a healthy eating booklet directed at medical students as part of a Special Study Unit module. In the title of the booklet I included Peninsula medical school in the title to make it more appealing to the medical students in my university. However, all the information provided in the booklet is relevant to all medical students and even to non-medical students. Students are notoriously popular for having unhealthy diets during university life. Some of the reasons for this are the assumptions that healthy meals are more expensive to prepare, take longer to cook and require a greater deal of expertise than the average microwaveable meal Also the transition from living at home where meals are provided to having to fend for themselves especially for freshers can be one of the barriers to adopting a healthy lifestyle for students This booklet provides easy to follow tips on healthy eating and provides practical advice for cooking meals that are both healthy and cheap! The information is also presented in a style that's easy and interesting to read The booklet was created with the help of expert advice from a dietician at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, web based resources such as the NHS choices website and food leaflets from reputable organisations.  
Dolapo Thompson
over 7 years ago
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The (Peninsula) medical student's guide to healthy eating

I am a 4th year medical student about to go into my final year and I created a healthy eating booklet directed at medical students as part of a Special Study Unit module. I included Peninsula medical school in the title of the booklet to make it more appealing to the medical students in my university. However, all the information provided in the booklet is relevant to all medical students and even to non-medical students. Students are notoriously popular for having unhealthy diets during university life. Some of the reasons for this are the assumptions that healthy meals are more expensive to prepare, take longer to cook and require a greater deal of expertise than the average microwaveable meal Also the transition from living at home where meals are provided to having to fend for themselves especially for freshers can be one of the barriers to adopting a healthy lifestyle for students This booklet provides easy to follow tips on healthy eating and provides practical advice for cooking meals that are both healthy and cheap! The information is also presented in a style that's easy and interesting to read The booklet was created with the help of expert advice from a dietician at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, web based resources such as the NHS choices website and food leaflets from reputable organisations.  
Dolapo Thompson
over 7 years ago
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Explanation slides Knudsons 2 Hit Hypothesis

© 2009 NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre Genetics and Genomics for Healthcare www.geneticseducation.nhs.uk Inherited Pre-disposition to Ca…  
Nicole Chalmers
over 5 years ago
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Conditions: Turner Syndrome Chrom

© 2009 NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre Genetics and Genomics for Healthcare www.geneticseducation.nhs.uk Turner Syndrome Clinical featur…  
Nicole Chalmers
over 5 years ago
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Student Sues Uni For Failing Degree, Faces £90k Legal Bill

A medical student at Newcastle University faces a £90,000 legal bill after trying to sue the university for failing him. Paul Crawford, 32, sued the university after unsuccessfully re-taking  
The Huffington Post UK
over 5 years ago
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University of Debrecen and the Possibilities of Social Media

I'm student of University of Debrecen - one of Hungary’s five research-elite universities. It offers the widest choice of majors in the country for over 32,000 students. It has 1500 lecturers of 15 faculties endeavour to live up to the elite university status and to provide high quality education for those choosing the University of Debrecen every day. The University of Debrecen is a dynamically expanding institution. I believe in power of social media and I'm so glad my University has embraced it too. It has an official Facebook page where they post newest education or sport news (they have 18.863 followers, which is not too bad). For the fastest information you can follow their Twitter page. If you like videos or simply you missed some events, you can catch up on their official Youtube channel. In other universities (e.g. Cardiff University) these tools are evident, but, unfortunately not all universities in Hungary understand the value of them. The University of Debrecen tries to keep up with revolution of social media. Encourage your university to do the same!  
Zoltán Cserháti
over 6 years ago