The combination of the sciences, the latest technologies and social interaction makes medicine such an appealing subject area to me. I am inspired to develop, improve and use my skills in science to overcome the challenges and complexities associated with a medical career, and in doing so, potentially enhance the lives of those in need.
My interest in a career in medicine has been reinforced by my volunteering and work experience. I arranged a month’s placement shadowing a GP, observing consultations and speaking with members of the healthcare team about their roles in patient care. I was impressed at how the GP calmly reassured his patients, quickly determining the best course of action to take and explaining it to the patient. I encountered a broad spectrum of medical problems, from mental health issues to minor surgery. For a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome, I was taught the nerve testing procedure, which I successfully applied later that week on a patient presenting similar symptoms. Then on a home visit to a man with severe Parkinson’s disease, I realised how the doctor used his time, not only to help the patient, but to explore the concerns and fears of the family. As a volunteer at a local care home, I am a compassionate and supportive person for the residents to turn to when in need. Building on the communicative skills picked up from my GP placement, I have learnt to listen to and understand elderly patients’ views on their treatment and medication and how they affect their lives. I also realise the importance of a resident’s dignity, a patient approach and good palliative care. I will soon be undertaking a hospital placement to experience more acute healthcare. I am currently producing a research project on falls among the elderly. Using data collected from my GP placement, I will assess the risk factors associated and suggest possible precautions to reduce the risk. This will be a valuable activity as today’s ageing population poses many problems to the NHS, injuries from falls being a significant burden, especially in orthopaedics.
I enjoy reading around the subject of medicine. Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’ revealed the importance of evidence-based medicine in ensuring a patient receives the optimum treatment. Then from Sacks’ ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’, I learnt a lot of medical terminology and an anecdote on Korsakoff’s syndrome led me to research the disorder further. I was able to see the link between alcoholism and the thiamine deficiency which is the primary cause of the anterograde amnesia that the condition presents due to mammillary body atrophy, and found it interesting that similar atrophy is present in many dementia sufferers. I keep up to date with what is new and developing in medical circles by reading The BMJ and its online research papers. With skills from ‘Bad Science’ I can spot flaws in research and I am aware of some of the strategies that drug companies can use to hide unflattering results.
I play football and have made over 100 appearances for my local youth team, winning the league 3 times, demonstrating my team-working ability. This year, my dad and I refurbished a Merlin Rocket dinghy to sailing-standard, which we sail on the local Norfolk Broads. I maintain a good balance of my time to include my part-time job, volunteering, social life and academic commitments. This time management shows my determination to succeed and that I can learn to handle the time pressures associated with a medical career.
As my parents have healthcare backgrounds, I have a realistic grasp of what day-to-day medicine involves, having quizzed them with endless questions regarding a medical career: from their personal medical ethics to the current problems facing the NHS, such as the overuse of antidepressants and antibiotics. My academic record, direct experience and extracurricular reading demonstrate that I am self-motivated, keen and ready for a career in medicine.