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5 Facts about my Medical School

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

5 facts about my Medical School (University of Manchester)

1. Early Clinical Experience

At Manchester, the medical school prides itself on providing medical students with excellent clinical experience throughout the 5 years.

In the first 2 years of medical school, you attend around 6 days in both hospital and community settings (including GP placements). This gives you the opportunity to understand various clinical environments and how the different specialities work together to provide the best care for each patient. It also allows you to communicate with patients and use the skills that you develop in your communication skills sessions to practise your bed-side manner.

In years 3 and 4 you experience fully integrated clinical training. You become part of the team on the wards and this allows you to gain so much knowledge about patient management. Observing how the various teams cooperate with each other becomes so interesting when you begin to understand the roles of each person. In Year 3 you will spend 60% of your time in the clinical environment whereas in Year 4 you will go on 8 rotations each lasting 4 weeks to explore the specialities even further.

Year 5 is the transition period where you prepare to start work as a doctor. You gain experience through a student assistantship where you take on a lot of the roles of a foundation-year doctor whilst under supervision.

The base teaching hospitals at the University of Manchester are:

· Manchester Royal Infirmary

· Wythenshawe Hospital

· Salford Royal Hospital

· Royal Preston Hospital

2. Whole body dissection

Whole body dissection involves dissecting each part of a cadaver in relation to the anatomy that you have learnt that week. I found this useful as I find it difficult to visualise the anatomy without seeing it in person, so I found this area of the course fascinating. The anatomy teaching is delivered by GMC registered doctors, so you have access to great teaching. This aspect of the Medical School was one of the reasons that I applied here as not many Universities provide this type of education.

3. PBL (problem-based learning)

At Manchester, the course focusses on problem-based learning which means that you will be given a medical case that you need to solve and learn from. With the assistance of a tutor and a small group, you will be guided through the process of investigating the signs and symptoms of a patient, then coming to some conclusions of potential diagnoses. At the end of the session, as a group you come up with your own learning objectives. You go away and gather all the information you need from lectures, books, teaching, placements, and online reading to become more knowledgeable on the specific area. This form of learning is more self-directed so if you benefit from a hands-on approach to learning, this would be a good course to apply to.

4. Lab work

As well as anatomy sessions, PBL and lectures, you will have timetabled sessions in a lab. These are Physiology/Pharmacological practical classes that allow you to practise some clinical skills such as taking blood pressure, learning how to perform an ECG and performing drug dilutions. You get the opportunity to practise on each other in first and second year as well as practising on patients in your clinical placements which is exciting! These sessions prepare you for the clinical environment and you will be tested on these skills in OSCE’s (Objective Structured Clinical Exams).

5. Communication skills sessions

At Manchester, you have timetabled clinical skills sessions where you split off into small groups and practise your communication skills on a simulated patient. This might sound daunting, but the skills teaching is very supportive, and you receive lots of help if you get stuck. At first, these teaching sessions can be uncomfortable however you get used to them quickly and the simulated patients are so lovely! This experience sets you up so well to go into clinical practise and speak to patients. We learn lots of frameworks for different scenarios to help you to get to the bottom of a patient’s complaints.

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