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March 18, 2021
I am now in the midst of week 5 of my ‘Revision Block’ and, you’ve guessed it, it has been full of revision. The days are starting to blur into one if I’m honest, but it is the final push to the finish line of medical school so I am actually feeling very motivated to work as hard as I possibly can. Our 8-week revision block is actually a long time to be constantly revising, so to keep things fresh, I like to mix and match in order to keep things fresh and stop myself feeling too fatigued. One of my favourite revision techniques involved a whiteboard: I find it a great way of summarising notes of a topic and drawing out diagrams, it also gets me on my feet so is a little bit more involved than sitting at my desk reading.
Aside from studying alone, I have also been getting together with my clinical partner. We take it in turns to “teach” a topic to one another, which is a fantastic way of helping us both fill gaps in our knowledge. We also invent patient cases and discuss together how we would approach them together. I honestly feel so lucky to have such a close relationship with my clinical partner, it makes the looming spectre of exams far less nerve wracking not having to go through revision alone. We’ve got through all of medical school together from first year anatomy, placements, and now is the last push!
Speaking of partners, my actual (non-clinical) partner has become my own personal simulated patient. He must have had more examinations than a ward full of hospital patients by now. It’s quite entertaining to see him start to pick up some medical knowledge simply by being exposed to it over and over. Whether it’s medical podcasts in the car or practising my abdominal examinations, it has been impossible for him to avoid it. In all seriousness, having someone to practice the examinations on has been really helpful in the build-up to practical exams.
The university is also hosting a variety of voluntary sessions that I have been making the most of. This week, for example, I am attending a practical skills workshop on obstetric palpation (feeling baby in a pregnant mother’s womb) and also a session on taking sexual health swabs. These sessions are overseen by clinical teaching staff who give us pointers on perfecting our technique and building on our knowledge. I find these sessions really useful because, whilst revision is self-directed, it is comforting to have the Medical School as constant source of support and guidance throughout this final push. 4 weeks to go – bring it on!
October 03, 2019
I passed! I’m officially a third-year medical student! I found out my results last Monday and I am so over the moon to have passed my exams and have moved forwards into the next stage of my training. Third and Fourth year are grouped together into one “phase”, which the med school call “Phase III”. This is the final phase of the Warwick MBChB before we (hopefully) qualify as doctors. The way Phase III works is that we have an 8 week block called Student Selected Component 2 which is a research project, followed by 8 x 8 week blocks of “Specialist Clinical Placements” where we rotate around various specialities, including areas such as Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Orthopaedics etc. These are our final placements before we enter the real world, so to speak and go on to become qualified doctors. It feels surreal to say that I am entering the final part of the course when it only feels like yesterday I was packing up and getting ready to move to Warwick to start a new phase of my life.
The first part of Phase III is Student Selected Component 2 which is our chance to complete a research project and develop the research skills required of all doctors. This 8-week block is very self-directed but the first week was a week full of taught sessions relating to our chosen project. My project is interviewing funeral directors and producing a thematic analysis of their experiences of arranging for GPs to complete cremation paperwork. Thus, my sessions were around qualitative research, how to conduct interviews and producing a write up from this. As well as a chance to do research, the block is also a chance to recover slightly from the length of second year and engage in some extra-curricular activities such as teaching or attending conferences.
This week started more slowly with me emailing out the Funeral Directors I want to interview and finding books and articles for my literature review. It feels slightly odd to not be on placement after so long of going to hospital, but it is also a welcome feeling to enjoy being a normal student for a while, being mostly based on campus and at the library. It means that I can start going to the gym again and catching up with friends again. It’s a slower pace of life, but a welcome one.