What made UCLan so appealing to you?
There were a number of factors that made me consider UCLan to study medicine. One of the first being when I read about UCLan on their website, I liked the structure of the medical course and its components. The three modules ISCM, EIPOM AND MSQC ensures that along with essential scientific knowledge, students become informed and well-rounded doctors by having good practical skills and understanding the wider impacts of patient’s lives on their health. Furthermore, when I came for the medical interview, the hospitality and friendliness of people in Lancashire and tutors at UCLan caught my eye. My parents and I were also told that what makes UCLan’s programme better, is its small cohort size and international diversity. This is true, because being only about 50 students, tutors can focus on each individual’s needs and the learning is better. Being a multicultural cohort, we can also learn more from each other and share thoughts about healthcare systems in our countries. Upon talking to staff and learning from the website, I learnt that practical training and exploration is something that sets this course apart. Since we are given ample placements from first year in GP practices and secondary care set-ups, it ensures we learn about the NHS in-depth, a variety of patient experiences and what and how different factors can affect patient’s lives. Learning with nurses and doctors in a real-life setting gives you so much more knowledge on clinical and communication skills which you would not get otherwise. Overall the course structure, the patience and warmth of the people and the emphasis on holistic care is what made me choose UCLan.
Why do you think people should come to Preston?
I think people should come to Preston, firstly, because of the people. The people are really warm and friendly and they make you feel part of the place, not as an outsider. They are always ready to help and make you feel comfortable. Moreover, consider the city itself; Preston is quite a peaceful and pleasant city and a proper place for student life and studies. However, if one craves some entertainment or fun, there is opportunity for that too, with the town centre having numerous shops and with plans for expansion and the presence of parks around to relax as well as numerous activities and social groups around town and at UCLan. It was easy to settle in the course as people around are approachable and make you feel welcome. My peers are also nice and I could talk to many classmates in the first few days itself. Considering learning, the course started out basic and we were introduced to the various components and assessments of the course in detail, thereby giving us time to pick up science knowledge and what is expected of us.
What did you like about the programme when you first began?
The aspects I liked about the programme when I began were the clinical and communication skills training that we had. This was new to me and was fun. Clinical skills were all practical based and taught us procedures and examinations such as cardiovascular examination and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, which put the science of medicine into perspective. Also the teaching is very good, the tutors make the lecture slides understandable by explaining us all the processes and content with enough detail and are very patient in answering any questions we have and ensuring we understand the lectures. Lectures are also recorded which is really helpful, as we can listen to them at home if we want to learn what the tutor said for a particular concept or we did not quite get something. The tutors all know their subjects well and many incorporate pictorials and bullet point information to facilitate our understanding. The course prepares us for further study because there is a lot of content to learn, while at the same time attending placements and conferences and taking part in university activities. Therefore, we build skills such as effective communication, time management, organisation and various methods of study. These will come in handy during foundation years and when studying to specialise after foundation.
What personal skills have you gained from your studies?
Two major personal skills I have gained from my studies are learning how to study more efficiently and better communication. Given there is a huge breadth of information to learn in medicine, it is important to incorporate a variety of learning strategies to cope with the demand for knowledge, so that you can cover the material and remember it for longer. For example, I like to summarise information from lecture slides in my own words, either by bullet points, flow diagrams or mnemonics. I also then verbalise the information to myself, to ensure I know the concepts and I sometimes look at videos and refer to textbooks if I want to understand better or in more detail. My communication skills were strengthened, mostly because of the communication skills lectures that we have, where I learn how to communicate with patients effectively through verbal and non-verbal communication techniques and questioning style. We are also taught the importance of listening to patients while questioning them, as this allows you to glean vital information that the patient tells you. These techniques can easily translate to make everyday life communication more effective as well. One personal barrier which I can say I have improved at is inquiring. As I started medicine, I have become more of an inquirer as I try to figure out problems that patients have and how one medical condition may be related to another. During placements, I often ask questions to the nurses and doctors about the patients we see, to understand the details about their case.
Outside of your studies, what other opportunities have you been involved in?
Apart from studies, I have indulged myself in some conferences and groups. I am a member of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Empulse and have attended a conference by Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS) society and Dr. Garcia. In MSF, we plan activities and events such as bake sales or conferences for our School or even charity events. Empulse is a new society that conducts conferences on Emergency Medicine and PALS mostly conducts talks on clinical skills training. I think my greatest achievement so far is giving the graduation speech in high school. I had never before talked in front of such as large audience and was so nervous and anxious, however, the speech went well and I was happy to be chosen for it. The advice I would give to students is to start studying well beforehand for any exams or assessments, since you will retain and remember the information better and be able to revise it multiple times. Studying towards the end is likely to be quite stressful. Also, try and keep a work-life balance by indulging in some activities in university along with studies.
Why should people choose this course?
People should choose this course because medicine is a dynamic profession where you get to make a difference to people’s lives and it is always changing and advancing, so there is a huge scope of things to do and it cannot get boring. The UCLan Medicine course has the necessary components to ensure you become the best possible doctor.
06 March 2018