Programme: Medicine (MBBS), 2008 Current job: Academic Clinical Fellow in Child Health
Where are you now?
I'm currently in my third year of paediatric training, working with children of all ages from birth to 18 years old. As well as my clinical duties in the hospital, I'm researching ways to improve the care of babies who are born very prematurely. I'm enrolled in a part-time postgraduate degree at HYMS as part of my academic job.
What do you remember from your time at HYMS?
I really enjoyed being a student at HYMS. As well as providing me with a good medical knowledge base, there were lots of opportunities for extra-curricular activities and social events. The tutors were all very approachable and friendly, and created a fun and supportive learning environment. My best friends are all from HYMS and I haven't moved far -- I still live in York!
My most memorable moment was as a final-year student, when you have the opportunity to go and learn about medicine anywhere in the world. I chose to go to a developing country called Vanuatu. While I was there I helped look after a very sick child with meningitis. Whilst we were assessing and resuscitating him, we realised that we'd run out of oxygen -- and when I say 'run out', I mean there was none left in the whole hospital. It took two days to get more cylinders delivered. I couldn't understand how something so easily available to us in the UK was not readily available to patients out there. This experience was one among many which really made me appreciate the healthcare system and the resources we have in the UK.
Did you feel well prepared for your career?
I definitely think HYMS helped me to pursue my particular area. My lasting impression of HYMS is that it uses innovative teaching methods to prepare graduates extremely well for the real world.
I thoroughly enjoyed my paediatric rotation as a medical student -- mainly because I spent several hours in the playroom, challenging children to games of Hungry Hippos and Guess Who! Having said that, throughout my entire time at medical school I always wanted to specialise in whatever area I was learning about at the time. Everything seemed interesting! When it came to paediatrics, it was no different -- I loved it! But somehow I loved it more than anything else I'd done, and I knew from then on that that was what I wanted to do long term.
HYMS taught me to be a holistic doctor who understands the patients' illness in the context of their psychological and social situation. This is fundamental to being a good doctor, and it's greatly valued by patients and their relatives. HYMS also reinforced my inquisitive streak, teaching us to formulate clinical questions and then use the best available research and evidence to help answer them. This prompted me to develop skills in research methodology so I could do research myself, and make a contribution to improving clinical care.
Were there any staff who particularly inspired you?
There were many tutors who inspired me along the way. If I had to single out one person, it would be John Cookson who was the founding Director of Medical Education (he's now retired). His attitude to teaching was inspirational. He had such enthusiasm and dedication, and you would go away from his clinical teaching sessions full of excitement about becoming a doctor!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about medicine?
I would definitely recommend medicine as a career. Being a doctor is a very rewarding job, but it's also a career which requires commitment, dedication and hard work.
Make the most of the opportunities that are offered to you as a student. Stay late, do on calls, practice clinical skills. You need as much experience as you can get, because the very first day you become a doctor, you'll be expected to know what you're doing!
How would you sum up HYMS in three words?
Patient-centred, integrated, enjoyable.