My Placement Experience

Our Foundation Year in Medicine at Edge Hill University is unique in that we have two weeks of placement in the academic year. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I was unable to complete my placement in May. However, I did enjoy my placement in mid-December 2019. I’ll be talking about my experience with placement in this blog.

Preparing

To prepare for placement, our class learnt how to effectively wash our hands, learn CPR, and learning skills we may need on placement (things such as safeguarding, but such issues didn’t arise). This took around a week, allowing us to best prepare. We also find out our location in advance, to organise transport. Our Medical School will choose a placement that’s most accessible to you, in either Lancashire or Ormskirk. A friend gave us a lift to mine and another friend’s placement in the morning, and I had taxis back to University in the evening.

The Support

Our Medical School, as well as I, communicated with my placement providers about my health conditions. We also got a card from our placement providers saying “IMSAFE”, another great example of our medical school looking after out wellbeing.

the “I’M SAFE” card we got for placement. We’re reminded to look after ourselves all throughout our studies!
The Week

9am-5pm Monday-Friday at a GP surgery was when we were in placement. We did so much: observe ultrasounds, GP/ANP appointments, the prescribing line, and working on reception. There, we observed and learnt so much, and all the staff were so lovely and welcoming. I really enjoyed being on the reception and placement helped me understand how a Multi-disciplinary team works together (as we learnt in lesson).

The experience made the idea of working in community more interesting. This is because there’s so many people to meet, conditions to understand, and you’ll see patients multiple times.

Closing Words

The placement, while short, taught me so much. I’m reminded of why I chose Medicine in the first place with experiences like placement. I look forward to more placements, and what I can learn from them. It’s so exciting to see where I’ll be in five years, but I am also excited to get back to University!

-Tony

My First Year in Recap: Academics

As someone who didn’t originally consider a Foundation Year in Medicine, I didn’t know what to expect at first. However when I read more into what I’d learn, I became more and more interested. But what was it like to experience it? I’ll be discussing just that in this blog.

Lessons

In a class of seventeen, we all have opportunities to contribute. Our five weekly lessons cover: science, the Multi-disciplinary team, personal and professional development, public health, and communication. Every two weeks we learn study skills on a Wednesday afternoon. We learnt 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm from Tuesday to Thursday, giving us four days ‘free’.

Opportunities

We had the opportunity to teach CPR to members of the public, and two of our classmates went to a conference in London to meet medical students from across the country! The staff are always looking for opportunities and are always asking us what we would like to do.

Assignments

There was a nice mix. We wrote a vignette essay to discuss how Multi-disciplinary teams help patients, presented for the communication theme, wrote a public health report, and completed a reflective portfolio. The independent learning involved with these assessments allowed us to develop understandings which will be of great benefit in our career. I also have two upcoming exams: an online science exam and three case based scenarios.

Placement

Unlike most Foundation Years, we have two weeks of non-clinical placement: one in a CCG and one in primary care. Our second week should have been this week, but my first week in primary care in December was fantastic! Placements are in the North West and I observed the reception, ultrasound appointments, ANP and GP consultations, and the prescribing office all within five days. The staff were lovely and welcoming and I can’t wait for my next placement!

Closing Words

Being assessed in different ways, having plenty of opportunities, and being on placement have made this year a great learning experience, while also being less stressful than the first year of the five-year programme. I feel more prepared to deal with the challenges ahead thanks to the Foundation Year!

The Building Blocks of a Medicine Personal Statement

Although the UCAS deadline for Medicine applications is six months away, you may be considering writing yours now. Most Medicine Personal Statements have a big focus on your skills and personal qualities, but how do you do this? I’ll be detailing my experiences in writing my Personal Statement below!

Planning

You have 4000 characters/47 lines to sell yourself (approximately 500 words). That’s not a lot! Jot down what experiences you want to include, the skills you learnt, and how they relate to becoming a medic. Use this plan as a rough guide, it’s okay if you think of something better to use when writing it!

Support your Skills

If you write that you’re a compassionate person, no matter how true it is, Universities will dismiss it. You’ll need to use experiences as ‘proof’. Did you become more compassionate by seeing something on placement? If so, how? Was it something you saw? When you write about it, respect patient confidentiality, and keep the description to a minimum. Every word counts, you just need to set the scene.

After you’ve said the skill and how you got it, link it to the job. For example, a medic will need to show compassion for a patient and their family when discussing sensitive issues. Show you understand the importance of these qualities.

Some Universities actively list the qualities they look for on the course page, which can remind you of some qualities you have. As long as you don’t lie, you’ll be fine! (Remember: interviewers could ask you to explain some of your Personal Statement).

Re-Drafting

This is a rule of thumb for any piece of writing, but your Personal Statement especially. Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s important to proofread. Having your Personal Tutor or a Medicine co-ordinator in college read will help too. If someone can proofread it, make sure to (politely) ask them!

Closing Words

Your Personal Statement should be about what you’ve learnt and who you are. It can be difficult and it’s okay if you struggle! Ask your tutors for help and ideas (but remember, don’t have someone else write it for you!) The Medic Portal and other resources can be a big help, too.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment. There’s so much more I could talk about when it comes to writing Personal Statements.

-Tony

Making the Most of Your Foundation Year in Medicine Part 2: Social Aspects

Continuing from the last blog, I’ll be discussing just a few of the things I’ve done in my first year. Although this blog is targeted towards future Foundation Year medical students, this blog’s applicable for anyone!

Go to as Many Events as Possible
Give it a Go Banner

Do you have a generous student loan? Then go on an organised shopping trip! (we’ve had trips to Chesire Oaks and the Trafford Centre this year) Do you want freebies? Check out some events in the “Give it a Go” booklet you’ll get before University. You could go to a Crafternoon, make something unique (like a dream-catcher), while enjoying free snacks. If you want to pursue an interest, then you should check out the societies available at the Welcome week fair! There were some giveaways when I went. Therefore, I left with a £5 gift voucher (as well as free noodles and toiletries!)

Go to the Pub Quiz

The Pub Quiz takes place in the SU Bar on Monday nights. There’s a £1 entry fee, and a cash prize up for grabs. As it is in the bar, you can get refreshments to soften the blow for when you incorrectly answer. However, the sweet waffles from the SU’s kitchen can’t get the bitter taste of defeat out your mouth.

Go to the Arts Centre

Through a free Arts Centre membership, you can watch musicals, dance, and comedy nights for free or a discounted price. However, if you prefer the big screen, you’re able to go to ‘Free Film Fridays’ in the Studio Theatre. I’ve enjoyed many nights here and I didn’t have to spend a single penny!

Closing Words

That’s just three parts of Uni life, and there’s so much more to do on campus and outside of it. If you’re curious, I recommend you check out the termly “Give it a Go” booklets to get an idea. Alternatively, ask what I get up to in the comments below!

Making the Most of Your Foundation Year in Medicine Part 1: Academic Aspects

If you’ve clicked on this blog article, it’s probably because you’ve received your offer to study Medicine with a Foundation Year. In which case, well done! To even receive an invite to interview within itself is an achievement. However, you may be wondering what you can do in the Foundation Year. After all, by doing a Foundation Year, you’re one extra year away from becoming qualified. This year has a smaller workload and less contact hours. So what should you do? You might be wondering what to do with a bit of extra time, and with a bit less stress. In this blog, I’ll address the academic side, before exploring the social aspect of University in Part 2.

Wait, how do I even pass the year?

We need to achieve 40% in our assignments to progress onto the next year. There is no difference between a student who achieves 40% and 100% (although you’re best off aiming for 100% instead of 40%!)

Unlike some other Foundation Year Medicine programmes, there are no limited spaces to progress onto the next five years. Your coursemates will be your friends for the next six years – not your competition!

So what should I do when I start?

Let this be the year you find your feet! There’s no competition between you and your coursemates. You should learn how to reference at your own pace, and begin to read academic journals for research. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes with your studies! Let them be learning experiences – better to learn earlier on than later! You’ll be doing this in Study Skills lessons and when you write your assignments. The more you understand these skills now, the less you’ll need to pick up on the MBChB Medicine course.

What support will I get?

Don’t worry; you won’t do this alone. You’ll be able to rely on fourteen other coursemates, your personal academic tutor, and study support on the course. Outside of the course, you can attend one-to-one or group sessions on University Skills, free of charge!

If you’re still struggling to get to grips with skills by the year’s end, don’t worry! We have so much support on our course and this continues throughout the full six years.

How have you found the workload?

I have found it manageable. If people do struggle, study support is there to help manage time!

What work are you doing beyond lessons?

This year, I’m going to create a good number of resources that I can build upon across the six years. I’m doing this so I don’t have to start making them next year, when I have less time!

Closing Words

This year is all about developing skills for performing well in your assignments; and also your understanding for the fundamentals of Medicine. This will all be covered in lessons, but feel free to ask any of our teachers for support. They’re more than happy to help! As this year has a lower workload volume than the first year of the MBChB programme, I would say you should make the most of your free time, enjoy yourself (avoid burnout!) but also work hard to make the next years of the course more manageable.

If you have any questions or worries, drop a comment and I will be more than happy to answer them!

Want to know what you can expect outside of lesson on your course? Check out part two of the blog, coming within the next few days!