Degree programme will train doctors to practise in local communities
A qualified nurse from Darwen has embarked upon a new career path after beginning a degree scholarship through the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
27-year-old trainee doctor Sarah Knowles was one of the first two people accepted onto the Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery (MBBS) scholarship programme, aimed at students residing in the East Lancashire and Cumbria regions.
The former St Wilfred’s Church of England Academy pupil is three months into the course, on a scholarship programme created by the University in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT).
The scholarships are part of a wider, long-term UCLan strategy to attract and retain local doctors to NHS employment in the region, in response to the issues faced in both Lancashire and Cumbria relating to attracting and retaining health professionals.
Having previously worked alongside doctors in the intensive care unit at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Sarah felt inspired to pursue her ambition of becoming one herself.
When I saw the scholarship opportunity at UCLan it was perfect – ordinarily to do a graduate entry programme it would mean moving away from my family and friends.
Sarah said: “Medicine is challenging and constantly evolving, and becoming a doctor is always a dream I’ve had, having always found myself being attracted to the more clinical side of nursing.
“When I saw the scholarship opportunity at UCLan it was perfect – ordinarily to do a graduate entry programme it would mean moving away from my family and friends. There was also the financial aspect to consider.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when I was accepted onto the programme. While there was a fear that I wouldn’t get in, I also wondered if I’d left it too late to start a new career from the bottom, especially becoming a fully registered doctor.
“Studying at UCLan means I can commute to Preston from Darwen easily and I can continue to work as an agency nurse alongside my studies. I’ve also made lots of new friends from the UK and around the world, everyone is really supportive of each other.
“What I would say to anyone considering applying to study medicine is to just go for it. You never know what might happen, so you can’t let fear put you off following your passion and it’s never too late.”
Dr Cathy Jackson, Executive Dean and Head of the UCLan School of Medicine, commented: “We are delighted to have been able to launch the Mackenzie Scholarship for students from the East Lancs area. This scholarship, created in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, seeks to provide an opportunity to widen participation onto our medical programme for students from the area. The annual scholarship allows one student each year to study locally and become involved in outreach activities from the medical school with schoolchildren and communities."
27-year-old trainee doctor Sarah Knowles
The annual scholarship allows one student each year to study locally and become involved in outreach activities from the medical school with schoolchildren and communities.
“The scholarship covers their tuition fees and also provides a small bursary helping to reduce any financial barrier to undertaking a medical degree. It is hoped that the scholarship will result in these high calibre students wanting to stay and work in the area after graduation and help to provide for the future of excellent patient care in East Lancashire for many years to come.”
Kevin McGee, Chief Executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted to partner with UCLan and the Mackenzie Scholarship is an excellent example of both organisations working together to provide high quality education for medical students from East Lancashire.
“We need to think ‘out of the box’ when planning future NHS workforce models. The Mackenzie Scholarship is just that, a new initiative which is supporting Sarah, a local, aspiring doctor, so she can go on to join ‘the best of the best’ – the NHS clinical workforce.”