Third-year Cardiff University medical student Ellen Davies (pictured) has been elected as chair of BMA Welsh medical students committee, taking over the role from Alessia Waller for the remainder of the 2019-20 to 2021-2022 session. Here, she answers some questions.
Where are you from and why did you choose to study in Wales?
I’ve lived in London my whole life but I’m Welsh on my Dad’s side and have always felt an affinity with Wales. That’s one of the reasons I came to Wales to study; that and it happened to be very sunny when I came to the Cardiff open day.
When did you realise you wanted to train as a doctor?
There wasn’t really one particular moment when I realised, but I did start to consider medicine while I was doing my GCSEs. That summer, I did some work experience at King’s College Hospital and I read a few books, including Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. The more I investigated medicine and medical school, the more I wanted to do it! I definitely feel that I made the right decision. I cannot imagine doing anything else now.
How long have you been a member of WMSC?
I have been a member of WMSC for one year. I applied to be a third year rep last summer, thinking it was a long shot. When I was elected I didn’t really know what to expect from the committee and was a bit nervous about joining such a large organisation. I was pleased to find that the WMSC is a very welcoming and friendly committee. I really enjoy the meetings as a chance to discuss important issues with like-minded students and BMA staff.
Why did you want to be chair of the committee?
Among medical students there is a huge amount of talent and passion, so I guess the reason I wanted to be chair of WMSC is two-fold. I think it is an honour to lead a group of talented and passionate students and I believe students should be able to reach their full potential while at medical school and the WMSC strives to create an environment where this is possible.
Any areas you want to focus on?
I’m particularly interested in seeing that medical students are not disadvantaged by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to see a fair, smooth and safe return to clinical placement and adequate catch up for teaching that has unfortunately been missed owing to exceptional circumstances. Also, I would like to continue the work that has already been happening to achieve fairness and equality for all students. In particular, the WMSC would like to see full implementation and positive change off the back of the BMA’s Charter for Medical Schools to Prevent and Address Racial Harassment.
What are your interests?
I’m interested in surgery and I’m intercalating in psychology next academic year. I love attending conferences and hearing about other people’s career paths. Aside from medicine and the BMA, I enjoy going to the gym and singing in Cardiff’s healthcare choir. I’m quite sociable and love the medic balls at Cardiff.
Ellen started the role at the beginning of June, stepping in for Alessia Waller, who has now graduated from Swansea University Medical School and is working as a foundation year 1 in England. Ellen will be supported by vice-chair, Virginia Dale.