Life as a... · June 07, 2019
Life as a UCLan Medicine Student
I am a fourth-year medical student at the University of Central Lancashire. I am one of the first cohorts of medical students at the University and I’m extremely happy to share my exciting experience here.Situated in the North-West of England in the city of Preston (close to Winterfell), it’s 45 minutes away from Manchester and Liverpool.
There is another campus in Burnley, which is 30 minutes from Preston, which is for the 3rd, 4th and future 5th year students.
This blog is to show you what it’s like being a medical student at UCLan, and to go through a day in my life as a medical student.
UCLan medicine course structure
UCLan offers a five-year medicine course, taught in English, similar to ones in different universities around the UK. The first two years focus on basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology etc., interspersed with a few clinical placements. There is a good amount of clinical skills and communication skills teaching present as well, with an element of PBL too. However, the bulk of your learning is through lectures and practical sessions in the anatomy lab. There are no pro-sections or dissections, but there are fabulous 3D models which really bring the human body in perspective.
The next two years are clinical practice oriented and represent the most exciting years of your medical school. There are various placements to go through such as orthopaedics (my favourite one yet), cardiology, neurology (some cool Derek Shepherd stuff), paediatrics etc., with an emphasis on clinical and communication skills, diagnosis and management. You also have campus days with flipped classroom teaching, where you prepare a topic (like diabetes), and teach the class, with input from the Endocrinology consultant. You’re also always brushing up on clinical skills teaching too.
Recently, UCLan has taken up students in their initiative to expand the course to UK widening participation students. This is a great move, providing access to top-quality medical education to those with issues funding for tuition fees.
What to expect at UCLan Medical School
Once you’ve received that A in Chemistry and done well in other science subjects like Biology, you can rest assured that you’ve done the hardest bit. I always reiterate the fact that getting into medical school is much more difficult than going through it.At UCLan, the experience gets even easier. Here, you are considered a valuable member of the course. Each medical student has a say in the working of the medical school, and the school is constantly asking, receiving and working on feedback, to make improvements to the course.
Since this is a fairly new medical school and it is still not accredited by the General Medical Council, the medical school is very willing to listen to what the students have to say, and change things for the better (Interesting point – the school is subject to GMC quality assurance every 6 months, and they meet with us too to ensure students’ needs and requests are met).
Most importantly, the medical school has a limited number of students, which is great for the students. It’s a healthy teacher to student ratio with supportive small group teachings to facilitate learning. The teaching staff actually know your name and you have an encouraging network around you.
Even during hospital placements, the staff are welcoming and very happy to have you. This is because, they feel a sense of pride in us, as we are their own medical students, and not from another far-off university. They are all extremely supportive and help you through each turn.
What’s it like to be Year 4 Student?
A day in my life…
Tip number one: Make yourself useful! Ask questions, offer to write in the notes and even examine patients during the ward round.
Tip number two: Again, make yourself useful! Offer to write up discharge summaries with the help of the junior doctor. This is really useful as it will help you in the future when you find yourself writing one up as a junior doctor.
Tip number three: Whenever I can’t remember the basics about a medical condition, I try and see a patient suffering from that. This helps consolidate my knowledge and I actually remember more from these encounters. Remember, you learn a lot more talking to a patient, than seeing it in a book.
Tip number four: An OSCE is a clinical exam which is set up exactly like an MMI circuit. It’s great to get practice on the wards in order to get slick at clinical examinations. Leaving it till the end only makes it more difficult and harder to remember.
Tip number five: Here is your opportunity to shine! Take a good full history and examine the child properly. Usually in the Children’s Assessment Unit, no senior doctor has seen them yet, your case presentation is all they’ve got to go on before they see the child.
Write a personal statement that stands out!
To be fair, I cannot imagine myself going to university other than UCLan. The immense support system, great learning facilities and my desire to be a great doctor (Surgeon?), really keeps me going (better than caffeine). I always stress the importance of mindfulness and taking breaks to ensure personal health is not affected. Trips down to Manchester, evenings out in restaurants and keeping a hobby will not only keep you sane here, but also create a work-life balance which is necessary for effectual learning and creativity. Remember, to always get involved in societies and keep yourself busy with things you enjoy the most during your free time.
Also, there are a growing number of students from the physician associate studies courses and medical sciences courses which enhance your experience in both lecture rooms and hospital. Try and work with them on scientific and clinical issues as they’re a great resource to learn with.
We hope you found this information useful in helping you get a sneak peak into life as a UCLan Medical School Student. If you have any questions or need advice don’t hesitate to email us at hello@theMSAG.com.
Mr Saif Akhter Ansari
Saif is a Year 4 Medical Student at University of Central Lancashire where he also also sat on their interview panels. Saif works as a content writer for theMSAG.