Medicine Personal Statement
Submitted by Martha
Through my mother’s recent diagnosis and treatment of stage 3 metastatic melanoma, I have experienced the journey of a person with cancer. It has become clear to me the importance of effective and timely healthcare in improving and extending the quality of a patient’s life. The empathy and respect my mother has been shown has ensured her trust in those caring for her, highlighting to me the need to treat every patient as an individual. To offer focussed and prompt care is difficult for the NHS given the immense strain it is under faced with an aging and increasing population alongside an epidemic of preventable illnesses. I am keen to become a part of this despite the burden of responsibility, the long hours, and the financial limitations NHS trusts are facing.
Throughout my work experience on an elective orthopaedics ward, I saw every healthcare professional working above and beyond what was expected, ensuring patient satisfaction. This was in spite of the struggle to find enough beds, changing demographics of our society, and short-staffing. When observing the discharge discussions, I saw the multidisciplinary team making a difficult decision when deciding which patient had the greatest medical need for a bed. Patient A was waiting to be discharged but the hospice she was due to enter had no bed available. By considering the patients’ waiting times, necessity and urgency of surgery, and living conditions, the MDT decided to postpone patient B’s surgery until patient A could leave safely.
On this placement, I met a patient due to be fitted with an Ilizarov frame. The physiotherapists emphasised that this treatment comes with an increased risk of infection at the pin-sites. However, in this instance, an external fixation was chosen for the non-union fracture as it ensured the patient was fully weight-bearing immediately after surgery. Comparing this post-operative care to that of a patient with a bilateral knee replacement highlighted how, as a doctor, there is a constant need to balance the advantages and disadvantages of any treatment according to individual circumstances.
During my year volunteering at a Sue Ryder Hospice, I have worked with a long-term resident. I saw how appreciative she was of the work the ward teams put in to organise her Glastonbury festival experience along with transport to, and care at, her son’s wedding. Although doctors are not able to cure everyone, care like this has shown me what a difference fulfilling a patient’s wishes can make for all involved, before and after they are gone.Whilst spending a week’s residential volunteering to provide respite care for disabled people, I was able to fully appreciate the difficulties patients faced when communicating with the professionals and the importance of taking time to listen carefully. Many guests struggled to speak clearly, with one using a communication board as a form of Alternative-Augmented Communication. On excursions, I was aware of how little understanding or respect the general public have for those less able. However, the guests told me how they appreciated the care and companionship volunteers like me offered them.
As a learning mentor and GCSE tutor, I have learnt to adapt my explanations of fairly complex subjects to different levels of understanding. In my spare time I am a keen netball player, playing for a local team as well as spending time as part of the North Cambridgeshire academy. Having captained my team for the last season, I have improved my teamwork and leadership skills, organising other people as well as myself. I am currently practising for my grade 8 piano and have used these skills when accompanying an elderly person’s choir for over two years. Furthermore, through performing regularly in theatre performances in and outside of school, my confidence has grown. Finally, through my role as a retail assistant, I have shown dedication to work as well as developing my interactions with different members of society.