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Published on 7th April 2020 by Premela

 

With all the uncertainty in the world right now, and the nature of this unprecedented situation, it is a very challenging time for medical applicants.

Exams, work experience and voluntary work are cancelled or postponed, and there is uncertainty regarding UCAT testing dates.  It is difficult to know how to spend your time at home. Luckily, I have pulled together some suggested activities and resources to invest your time in. 

#1 – Check out a virtual work experience platform

Brighton and Sussex Medical School have developed a virtual work experience resource, designed to support applicants whose traditional work experience is no longer viable.

The platform is free to use and aims to encourage critical thinking regarding the role of a doctor, while introducing applicants to the skills and attributes of different medical specialists. The platform is also designed to encourage reflection. This resource is accessible here

#2 – Make your social media smarter 

It’s easy to spend hours scrolling on Instagram, especially when we are stuck inside all day. So why not make your social media feed smarter and more useful to you?

There are loads of helpful accounts to follow on Instagram which offer engaging insights into Medicine as a career, while also providing helpful application tips. I would recommend The Medic Portal’s Instagram account, available to follow here.

The Medic Portal Instagram feed will direct you to all of our latest blog posts and provide important updates regarding the 2020-21 Medicine admissions cycle. 

Another fantastic account is run by myself, and some other Birmingham medical students, called @wearemedics.

We are offering advice on the admissions process and hosting weekly Instagram livestreams (for some livestreams, certificates are even available for participation!).

If your work experience is cancelled, try tuning into these livestreams instead – we are doing our best to provide you with a realistic insight into life at medical school. The We Are Medics account is available to follow here

#3 – Tune into some podcasts 

Podcasts are surging in popularity around the world, and the medical field is no different.

There are some fantastic podcasts you can listen to over the next few months, offering independent learning on a huge range of topics. 

BMJ Sharp Scratch is a great podcast to start with. It is created by the team behind Student BMJ and aims to talk about the important topics that medical school might not teach you.

Useful episodes for applicants include: ‘Working with the multidisciplinary team’, ‘Making your first mistake’ and ‘Why CPR isn’t like on TV’.

It’s worth reflecting on podcast episodes like this, so make yourself a hot drink, choose a notebook and settle in for a listen. 

Other good podcasts include:

  • RCP Medicine: hosted by the Royal College of Physicians, this podcast is excellent for a deep dive into a certain medical condition to improve your understanding of it.
  • The History of Medicine: this podcast focuses on the history of modern-day medicine and is perfect for any humanities fans out there.
  • Medicine and the Machine: if MedTech fascinates you then try this podcast by Medscape, hosted by Eric Topol who wrote the leading Topol Review on AI and robotics in the NHS.

#4 – Learn about the realities of Medicine from vloggers

YouTube can be a fantastic platform, offering a realistic insight into medical school and Medicine. Popular medic YouTubers include: 

  • Ali Abdaal: an F2 who attended medical school at Cambridge and vlogs about life as as a medical student and junior doctor – perfect viewing for productive procrastination 
  • America Revere: America is a US medical student in her final year of medical school. I love her medical school vlogs, she is open and honest about the intensity of the workload at medical school, but always shares her highlights with her viewers. 
  • The Junior Doctor: Dr Ezgi is training to become a GP, but currently works in a London hospital. She regularly vlogs her hospital shifts, offering a real insight into the work of a UK junior doctor. 

#5 – Try your hand at some independent learning 

My last suggestion is to teach yourself something new and Medicine related.

There are heaps of resources available online to support you with this, but one of the simplest ways to do this is to read a medical journal article and appraise it. 

You can find medical journal articles for free online, good sources include the BMJ, Lancet and British Journal of General Practice.

Once you have identified a journal article, download a Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist and use this to evaluate how trustworthy its results are.

Completing this activity monthly will keep you on top of medical breakthroughs and research, while developing your skills in evidence-based medicine. 

Words by: Kirsty Morrison

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