If you are anything like me and want nothing more than to study medicine and become a doctor, then getting your ‘fix’ of medical education is a massive deal! While not currently studying medicine, I find that in my free time between university work, revision and exams I cram as many medical themed ‘things’ in as possible (this is aside from the medical education I receive on my course)!
I’m lucky at Newcastle in that you don’t have to study medicine to join the medical themed societies (this may be the same for other universities). I took advantage of this!! I am a member of Surgical Society, Neurological Society, Teddy Bear Hospital Society, Global Heath Newcastle, LINKS and Newcastle Emergency Medicine Society. This may seem like a lot, but we have the flexibility to pick and choose which events and activities we wish to attend. Those who know me well will know (or be able to guess) that Surgical Society is my absolute favourite! I look forward to receiving emails from them, knowing that they have something new for me to try or a talk by someone which will make me fall more in love with medicine. So far I have been to every talk with Surgical Society, watched an autopsy and been in the dissecting room multiple times to learn about anatomy of various parts of the body.
Aside from Societies, I also try and fit in reading around various medical advances and reading of medical themed books. I have quite a collection building up! Reading is something that can be hard to fit in around a degree, but when I go home for the holidays and if I have an afternoon off (and I’m on top of my work) its something that I really enjoy doing. I love to learn about current issues in our NHS and new treatments/breakthroughs being found, along with reading about clinicians own journies through their medical career. One of my all time favourites is ‘Adventures in Human Being’ by Gavin Francis, and I am currently enjoying ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawande which was recommended to me by a very dear friend!
Another way to get you ‘fix’ of medicine, is to volunteer or work in a hospital or hospice where you are around patients, doctors and nurses all the time. You get to see first hand what it’s like to be a healthcare professional, and the effect they have on people lives. This is the best way to feel involved in medicine, and an opportunity which should certainly not be taken for granted. I love the time I spend volunteering, and wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Finally, my last way of ensuring I feel part of the medical community is to relax at night by watching my favourite medical themes TV shows and dramas. Obviously some are completely made up, both the story lines and the medical care provided, but the factual ones such as ‘Hospital’ provide key insight into the day to day running of the NHS.
Hope all you aspiring doctors out there find this helpful, and manage to get your own ‘shot’ of medical education!