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Medical Seminar for Sixth Form

A fascinating article written by Sixth Form student Kasia Ciepalowicz about her visit to Coventry University Hospital for a medical seminar aimed at students considering a career in medicine.

Recently, Sophie, Imogen, Stephy, Alex and I attended a medical seminar at Coventry University Hospital specifically aimed at sixth formers considering a career in medicine. Over three days, the aim of the seminar was to introduce us to various aspects of life as a doctor from the application process through to choosing a specific medical career path.

On the first day, discussions covered the positives and negatives of being a doctor and what qualities a good doctor should have. The first morning was a whirlwind tour of the hospital, visiting many different wards including day surgery where we met two nurses who were about to go into an operation and we were allowed to ask them many questions regarding what was it like in surgery and general things about daily hospital life. 

Afterwards, we took a trip to Endoscopy (where operations like key-hole surgery take place) and we saw how an endoscopic tube works, along with finding out details about this speciality. Our third stop was Paediatrics which was very interesting: we were taken for a tour around the wards, where we saw doctors looking after their patients. Later, after a short break, we visited three other areas of the hospital. In Radiography we saw a slide show with many different x-rays and the nurses talked about the problems in the slides whilst explaining to us what radiography entails. A medical student training to be a radiographer gave us a tour of the unit and we had the opportunity to ask more questions. The morning was finished off by visits to Anaesthetics and Renal Services.

In the afternoon a paediatrician gave us an overview of her daily life, experiences and opinions of working with sick children. This was followed by an ethics workshop where we learned about the kinds of ethical problems doctors face and the principles they follow: Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence and Justice.

Day two started with interview tips by a current medical student and we had the opportunity to role play an interview to experience what it would be like. This was followed by a trip to RESUS where we learned how to properly resuscitate someone in an emergency and how the specialised equipment in a hospital works. Then for me, by far the highlight of the three days, was the rare opportunity of seeing ‘pro-sections’ which are real human body parts that have been carefully dissected to so much detail that even the nerves were intact. They are used by medical students to help them learn about the body before doing real operations. There were pro-sections of every kind. We saw the whole abdomen intact, muscles still attached to the bones in the arm, the inside of a human spine and even slices of brain!

In the afternoon we had talks by a radiologist, an orthopaedic surgeon, GP and an oncologist. They were very interesting as we could compare the different specialities a doctor can choose, which could help us in the future.

On the third day we had a medical student and junior doctor come in to tell us what life is like for them and how they cope with their work life balance. Next, we had another ethics workshop where we picked up from the last session. We were give four statements to think about and then we had to vote what we thought on an interactive key pad.

The three statements were:

1) The severely demented should not be artificially fed

2) Kidney donors should be paid a fixed reward by the NHS

3) Pre-term babies less than 24 weeks old should not be resuscitated

The activity’s aim was to get us to think about arguments for and against each of these statements; these are the types of dilemma that doctors need to be aware of. We had to decide either ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’. It was very challenging and required a lot of thought!

Afterwards we had three different surgeons come in to talk to us about what it is like in surgery and life as a consultant surgeon and why they took that path/speciality followed by a lecture from a psychiatrist. To conclude our three days, a lady came from Leicester University to talk about medical school admissions and tips on what to write.

I thought it was a fantastic three days as it covered many aspects of medicine over a very short amount of time and we were always very busy; it certainly wasn’t boring! Before this I wasn’t sure that medicine was for me however, now I think it may be a strong possibility. I would definitely recommend this seminar to anyone, even if it means missing three days from school!