Saturday, 9 July 2011

Newcastle University Open Day!

Last Saturday I went to the Newcastle University open day!

I was feeling pretty tired, because of early starts taking their toll on me, but had to drag myself out of bed to leave home for 8am. 
6am starts really don't agree with me...

After a rushed half hour journey to the train station, we (Daddy Bee and I) got to the platform for the train to Newcastle. We boarded the train when it arrived, in full knowledge that it was going to be one heck of a long journey.

Nearly three hours passed of being sat on a noisy train, on seats with barely any leg room and across from an American lady who kept on staring at usAfter the tiring but picturesque train journey was over, we hastily made our way to the Metro station. We eventually arrived at the University, after a short Metro journey, but over two hours after the open day had commenced. So I knew that it was unlikely I'd get tickets for any of the Medicine talks. 


We rushed over to the building where Medical School talk tickets were being handed out -  the King's Gate Building of the University - to be told the inevitable, they'd all gone
Tickets for all three talks had gone in an hour. 

So, I didn't get into any of the Medicine talks. I still had a wander up to the Medical School regardless and caught a glimpse of the exterior, which looked impressive to me!

Newcastle University's Medical School

We also went to the Information Fair, and got talking to the loveliest female security guard ever! I was talking to her for about five minutes, but I could've honestly stood there all day listening to her talking with the best accent ever. 

I absolutely loved the city of Newcastle, even though I didn't get to see very much of it. After all, two hours isn't a lot of time to explore anywhere. 

They have a noodle bar in Haymarket Metro Station. Which is a bit of a clincher for a noodle addict such as myself...

I'm thinking about going again, later this year, perhaps. But travelling the day before and staying overnight, so that I don't miss out again!

My poor attempt at getting a decent picture of the King's Gate Building

Luckily, Newcastle University sent me a recorded version of the presentation yesterday.
So if you, like me, couldn't get into one of the Medicine talks - Or even if you couldn't make it to Newcastle altogether, you can watch the presentation here:

Friday, 8 July 2011

Success, at last!

Just a quick update...
After months of trying, I have actually managed to get a work experience placement!
I've finally found someone mad enough to take me on!

I start next Thursday, and will hopefully get to work every Thursday morning for the rest of the summer holiday, or until the foreseeable future if it goes well!

I'll be working in the Chemotherapy unit.
Maybe emotionally challenging, But I'm sure it'd be the most rewarding.

Everyone I met at the hospital seemed really lovely to me, and hopefully I won't mess it up!

Obviously, I'm bound by patient confidentiality rules, so I won't be able to let you know too much about how I'll get on!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I get a special t-shirt, not a tabard, but I'm okay with that...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

News, news, news!

I actually have a bit of good news about work experience/voluntary work!!
I know! Hold the front page!

I'd just got through to one of my local minor hospitals, after over a week of trying, to be told that the work experience co-ordinator lady is on annual leave. So I got told to ring back either at night on the 14th July or early in the morning on the 20th. 
I rung off, feeling a bit disappointed that I still didn't have any work experience sorted.

I have sent several letters off to local GP surgeries, applied to two local major hospitals for voluntary work, and even tried pestering local hospitals for short term work experience. But no luck.
Until today, that is.

I scrolled down my phone looking for the number of another local hospital that I've tried several times to get through to without any luck, when I came across the voluntary services number of the other major hospital of the same city.

And just by chance, I thought "Why not?" and rang them instead.

I've never really been able to get through to them either.

I emailed them last November, to be kindly and gently rejected.

I also sent them a volunteering application form by email in April and never heard anything back.

So I thought I'd ring them, because I'd got nothing to lose.

And I only got through, didn't I?!

The nice lady on the phone has offered me an informal chat/interview tomorrow about a long term work experience post, and has also invited me to a group interview on the 20th July about being a long term volunteer with them!

Cue happy face!

Monday, 4 July 2011

The University of Nottingham Open Day!

Apologies for being such an appallingly infrequent blogger!

I went to an open day last month at the University of Nottingham's Graduate Entry Medical School at Derby, and I've got to say that I was very impressed!

I wasn't feeling that well, in fact, I was thinking about cancelling altogether, but I persevered nonetheless, and dragged myself out of bed to go.

The day started at half 9, with a 30 minute registration period where we were all given complimentary tea or coffee in the cafe.
Whilst we were all sat down, uncomfortably chatting to those who we'd never met before, the academic admissions lead was orbiting the tables and chatting to us all. Turns out, he sings in a choir in my hometown. 
Small world...

Anyway, at 10 we went for an hour of presentations, one on 'How to Get in' and one on the course structure.
They were informative, yes, but you couldn't help but notice a change in tone, and everyone's faces suddenly turn a bit sullen at the prospect of GAMSAT!

After this we were separated into different groups, and went off for a series of different workshops.
The first that my group went to was 'Meet the Students', which is pretty self explanatory, really.
It was quite reassuring to hear about the six or seven students' experiences with GAMSAT...
Many of whom had failed first time, or weren't from a science background, just like me!

Then we moved on to 'Clinical Skills', led by a lovely lady lecturer/GP, where we got to try taking the pulse of a real-life medical student, and then also got to try the percussion test on her.

After this, we got a free lunch thrown in!
We got back downstairs (and there are a lot of stairs at this medical school, believe me!) and were greeted by the biggest banquet of triangular shaped sandwiches anyone could ever dream of. 

After our 55 minute long lunch, my group then got separated for our PBL workshop. Which I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed!
We got the case of a 49 year old travel company director, called Henry Fotheringham, who had come to his GP (that was us) presenting with epigastric pain. He'd been suffering for three days, but hadn't been to see his GP for the past decade. 
So we spent 25 minutes trying to work out what was wrong with him.
The seven of us, obviously pessimists, were convinced that our imaginary patient was suffering from something serious like cancer, that was, until, we were told by both of the medical students who were acting as our facilitators, that it was probably something as simple as reflux...

From this, we moved to anatomy...
We'd been told at lunch, that someone in another group had fainted and hit his head at the sight of a cadaver...
So, feeling quite under the weather and weaker than usual, I was convinced that I was going to faint too!
I was the first into the room,
'Cause I'm a geek like that...
And said "Hello" to the lecturer and her two medical student assistants, and casually walked past the chest of a dead body without even flinching...
Go me!
I found the workshop absolutely fascinating! We got to look inside the heart of the body, which was enlarged due to calcification. 
And we even got to see the dangling, stringy looking nerves that reach the arms!

After 25 minutes of that, we moved on to our final workshop, which was Neurophysiology. 
We got the opportunity to volunteer to have electrodes attached to our arms and have an electric current pass through it.
Apparently a test for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome...
You really do learn something new every day...
25 minutes of this and testing reflexes was over quickly, and then we departed back to the lecture theatre for a Q&A session.

By 3:10pm the open day was over...
And there I rediscovered my determination...

Who'd have thought the sight of part of a dead body could awaken somebody's faith in themselves...

The University of Nottingham's Graduate Entry School of Medicine at the Royal Derby Hospital.