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I want to study medicine because of the variety within the course and the multitude of areas that you can specialise in. However, more importantly, I am driven by the fulfillment that doctors gain by being able to make an impact in the lives of so many patients, daily. Personally, I have been able to experience a fraction of this. During my GCSEs, I witnessed my brother get in a serious accident. Despite my initial fear, I maintained my composure and carried out basic first aid to keep him conscious and my family at ease until the ambulance arrived. When I visited him after my exams, the first thing he said was ‘thank you for saving my life’. Even though I played a small part in his recovery, the warmth I felt after hearing that cannot compare to any feeling I have experienced before and this secured my confidence in my ability to make decisions under pressure and my dedication to pursue this career path.
Through my week of work experience at Southmead hospital, I was able to understand the responsibilities and struggles of doctors. One of the patients in the ward I was observing was very aggressive towards the doctors and decided to discharge herself despite the doctor advising her to stay for treatment. Although this was dangerous for the patient, because she was assessed as having capacity, the doctors respected the patient’s autonomy and allowed her to leave. This experience allowed me to see how the four pillars of ethics are upheld in medicine and increased my admiration for the doctors after observing their continued patience and compassion for the patient despite the difficult situation.
In addition, I learnt new ways to approach elderly patients while observing the gastroenterologist performing colonoscopies. For example, when the doctor needed to ask elderly patients for consent before the process, he would use simple terms to explain the procedure and then ask them to repeat in their own words what they thought was going to happen to ensure that they understood. I was impressed by his conscientiousness, as many of them had difficulty hearing, and I now apply these skills in my part-time job.
Working at Boots as a trainee pharmacy advisor has allowed me to experience communicating with patients regularly while understanding the importance of and maintaining patient confidentiality. If a patient comes to the counter with an eye infection, I ask them relevant questions to understand their symptoms and recommend the most suitable treatment, with the help of the pharmacist. This gives me the opportunity to demonstrate my ability to gain information from patients in a way that reflects how doctors take a history, while working effectively in a multi-disciplinary team.
My role in the Head Student team, as Head of Student Well-being, means that I am a source of support for students who are struggling with school or personal problems. Not only is this extremely rewarding, it also allows me to get a taste of the area I want to specialise in- psychiatry. Speaking privately with each student and asking questions in a sensitive, mature manner has enabled me to truly understand the importance of empathy in creating a strong doctor-patient relationship.
Being a doctor requires a wide range of skills therefore, to make myself a more well-rounded person, I have taken part in extra-curricular activities like Envision. I worked closely with a team of other students to improve careers advice in schools and, as Deputy Project Manager, I had to take initiative and show good leadership. I was able to excel as both a team player and leader by supporting less confident team members and representing my team in public events.
Reflecting on the skills and experiences that I have gained has only increased my confidence and interest in this area of science and I look forward to a career of lifelong learning which will enable me to make a positive impact in so many people’s lives.
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