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Doctors and the medics of the future

24 March 2017

Health Care

A group of nearly 50 youngsters recently gave up their Saturday to gain an informative insight of what it takes to be a medic.

The Medic Insight Day, which took place at Southend University Hospital, gave local young people, in study years 11 and 12, a taste of life at medical school. 

During the morning, surgical and medical themed lectures were delivered covering subjects such as infectious diseases, public health, surgical cases and ethical scenarios. The afternoon saw practical sessions on suturing, basic life support and using an ECG machine, ensuring those attending could get real hands-on experience.

Gill Parsons, Assistant to the Medical Education Manager at the hospital, explained the thinking behind the unique day, now in its second year. She said: "We are very much a teaching hospital and the Medic Insight Day is all about opening up opportunities and raising aspirations for local young people, hopefully inspiring some of the next generation of medics."

At the end of the day there was also a talk about applying to medical school and all those attending received a certificate of attendance, which can be included in their application. 

Resuscitation dummies

James Quigley, 16, from Southend, a student at Westcliff High School for Boys. Of using the resuscitation dummy he said: "It looks quite easy when you watch someone else doing it but it is very tiring and takes a lot more effort that what you first think."

That was echoed by Kelvin Zheng, 17, from Chafford Hundred, also a pupil at Westcliff High School for Boys. He commented: "It takes a lot of fitness to be a doctor. I'm not sure what area I want to specialise in yet but the day has made me want to go into medicine even more."

Taking a moment away from CPR training was Chelsea Agidi, 17, from Chadwell Heath. The Westcliff High School for Boys student, said: "I've never been taught CPR beforehand, and today is my first dose of what it is like to be a doctor. I'd heard today was a really good experience and I've not been disappointed.

A confident Chelsea already has a very clear idea of what she wants to do in clinical medicine, specifically in the specialism of gynaecology. She added: "I've wanted to work in that area since the age of 11 when I first learnt the word and was later fascinated about the spread of STDs and infectious diseases. I've always had a real interest in it and want to study it further; I just want to help people."

ECG

An electrocardiography (ECG) shows the electrical activity occurring in a person's heart and can be used to diagnose irregular heart rhythms, conduction abnormalities or even cardiac events such as heart attacks.

Getting to grips with the correct procedure for placing wires for an ECG reading was Jennifer Wells, 17, from Basildon. The Southend High School for Girls student was really enjoying the day of activities and lectures.

She said: "It's really good to get insight on being a doctor; I got the bug at secondary school when I started enjoying the sciences and always liked human anatomy. I decided I wanted to be a doctor from that moment on. Events like this allow people from all sorts of different backgrounds to meet and shows us how to use the technology doctors use.

"I've really enjoyed the talks regarding surgical case studies and ethical things; it will prove really helpful for my university interviews. Ideally I'd like to work in an emergency department or paediatrics."

Suture

 A suture is the fine thread or other material used surgically to close a wound or join tissues via a stitch; practicing on a suture pad and then a suture leg was Aisha Habbeebu, 17, from Southend.

She is looking at following in the footsteps of her mum and dad, her dad a doctor and her mum an occupational therapist. It wasn't always something that she was going to go into though as Aisha was originally looking at pursuing a career in law. Enjoying her science-based subjects more though, she soon decided this was the route for her.

Aisha said: "I've not done a suture before, it's quite difficult but I'm getting there. I've enjoyed the practical hand-on bits and have learnt quite a bit of new stuff. I really enjoyed the CPR, its practical knowledge that you can use now, not just when I hopefully get to medical school.

"Today has been great because although you can read about it in a book, it is nothing like doing it for real and hearing about it like in these sessions."

Helping to organise the event and run some of the sessions and lectures is Dr Kem Onubogu, a Foundation Year 2 doctor, which means he is on the final year of a two-year, general postgraduate medical training programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training.

He said: "It's good to give students an insight into what working in medicine may entail, and to give them an idea of what may be to come if they followed it as a career path, so we have given them a couple of lectures and practical sessions as well.

"Events like this help break down barriers; people who go to medical school all come from different backgrounds in terms of schooling, if you have the interest in the science and the desire to do it as long as you put your mind to it you can definitely get there.

"And those here today have shown a lot of commitment, coming in at 8.30am on a Saturday, they've certainly demonstrated they have got drive and passion for the subject."

So, who knows, perhaps one day some of them may return to Southend University Hospital as medical students as a direct result of being inspired by this day.