Pupils from 12 non-grammar schools from across Northern Ireland got the chance to quiz doctors and medical students about how to pursue a career in medicine at a special event held in Belfast today [Thursday 05 October 2023].
The budding medics of the future attended British Medical Association Northern Ireland’s ‘Widening Participation in Medicine’ event at the Crowne Plaza, part of a UK-wide initiative by the BMA to encourage pupils from all socio-economic backgrounds to consider a career as a doctor.
The pupils took part in interactive mentoring sessions with doctors from across various medical specialties, as well as current medical students, who all shared their reasons for entering the medical profession. Pupils were also able to take part in practical medical demonstrations such as measuring blood pressure, suturing (surgical stitches) and using a dermascope and microscope.
The two main Northern Ireland medical schools were also in attendance speaking to teachers about how to support interested students in applying to medical school.
Speaking at the event, Dr Tom Black, Chair of BMA Northern Ireland Council, said it was important to “dispel the myth” that medical degrees were only open to those from higher socio-economic backgrounds.
“We have doctors here today drawn from all backgrounds who are relaying the message to these enthusiastic pupils that they too can have a career in medicine with the right grades and dedication to learn,” said Dr Black.
“The Northern Ireland health service is in the midst of one of the worst workforce crisis in recent memory, with significant staffing gaps across all medical specialties. Now more than ever do we need to encourage and support more young people from all backgrounds into the medical profession and I hope many of them here today were inspired to take that step.”
Milan Kapoor from BMA Northern Ireland’s Medical Students committee and 3rd year medical student at Queen’s University Belfast, said:
“I’m heartened to see so many pupils here displaying a genuine interest in learning more about a career in medicine.
“We hope the pupils go back to their schools inspired and, most importantly, empowered to work towards their dreams of becoming a doctor.”
Read more about BMA’s work on widening participation in medicine.