So, I realise its been far too long since part 1 to this blog came out, but better late than never I guess. COVID threw a curveball to my first year at medical school, but I am going to continue this blog like the last and talk about medicine at Manchester in pre-pandemic times…
Physiology and Pharmacology practicals:
As we begin second semester, we are introduced to weekly 2-hour sessions covering the practical side of medicine. This includes performing ECGs, learning to measure peak flow in patients, and measuring blood pressure.
We complete these sessions in our PBL groups, and we are often further divided into smaller groups of 3-4 so that we can each have a go at measuring, recording and being the ‘patient’.
Usually, these sessions will relate to the weeks PBL case, but occasionally they may not correlate as we are required to cover certain practicals as first year students.
This is by far my favoroute time of the week, and the class which I look forward to the most!!
We have 2-hour sessions most weeks, again in our PBL groups, in which we learn to interact with patients via either simulated patients (actors and actresses) or each other.
We start the sessions in discussions with tutors around that weeks concept, before observing an example of how to carry out the examination or consultation properly from the tutor (which is almost always a practicing doctor), and then go off into small groups to practice ourselves.
We work with our clinical partners – a member of your PBL group which you attend clinical placements with throughout the semester – and get to observe other students carry out their examination/consultation. During first year, this mainly consists of introductory sessions in which we learn to appropriately have conversations with patients, before we move onto learning how to physically examine patients.
It is a really engaging part of the week, and quite honestly you feel like a ‘real life medic’ – stethoscope around the neck included!
Once every couple of weeks, we have a one-off histology session which covers the histological aspect of topics covered over the previous couple of weeks. This lasts for an hour, and walks us through the basics which are needed for our level.
To go alongside these lectures, we are able to view the histological slides online in our own time, plus we are fortunate to have access to drop-in sessions which allow us to ask questions, and ensure our understanding is in full before moving on to the next topic.
These lectures don’t take place as a full year group, but are instead split into a couple of lectures in the same week for a large group of students – instead of one large lecture, there will be 3-4 so they can take place in the medical school in smaller lecture theatres.
Evidence Based Medicine:
Every couple of weeks, we also have EBM lectures, again with large groups but not the whole cohort at once, which focus on teaching us the necessary skills to succeed in the field of research within medicine.
With these, we usually have small group tasks to complete in the session which allow us to learn by putting the newly taught skills into practice.
Personal Excellence Pathway:
During the second semester of first year, we have the chance to put our skills of scientific writing, research and presenting into practice. We rank areas of medicine which we are intrested in, and from this are put into small groups of 5-6 students (with a tutor) to create a poster presentation on a topic of our choice. Alongside this, we each must complete a report on one aspect of the poster which we researched.
The posters are then presented to an audience (when COVID doesn’t get in the way) which allows for us to show-off the hard work we have been doing!
We are really fortunate at Manchester, to have clinical placements straight away!
In the first semester we have two GP placements and one hospital placement, and then in second semester this is switched meaning we have one GP placement and two hospital placements. Within first year, you attend all hospital placements with your PBL group, and your GP placements with your clinical partner.
The GP and hospitals we attend can vary. At UoM there are four base hospitals, plus an array of DGH associated with these trusts, and GP’s within Manchester and Greater Manchester. This is an amazing bonus to medicine at Manchester in my opinion, as it means that the patient population we see is hugely varied and as such our learning experience is even more AMAZING!
Finally, like at all medical schools, self-study makes up the rest of our time. There is a lot of content to cover, and as such a lot of our time outside of classes is dedicated to ensuring our understanding on this is to a good level.
There are plenty of places to sit and work both within the medical school, and in general within UoM which means you can change up your located to make studying less of a mundane task. For myself, I like to head to the library or anatomy revision room in the medical school when I want to work alone, and when I want some company I’ll head over to the learning commons so I can hire out a room to study with friends.
I hope that these couple of blogs on 1st Year Medicine at UoM have been useful, and provided more insight into what it is like to study here. As always, if you have any other questions, please leave me a message and I will get back to you ASAP.