From being on NIMSC since first year of medicine and deputy chair last year, I was excited to step into the role of committee chair this year! I am pleased to be continuing the work from previous chair Aisling McCarthy and working on new projects with our committee, whilst continuing to support students studying through the pandemic.
It has been great to see our #ThinkAheadMed campaign rollout, with the booklet now published and distributed to students. This campaign and booklet idea came from previous committee members who agreed that students often realise too late that just getting their degree wasn’t enough, they needed to show a wider range of interests and experience. The booklet aims to show medical students how to get the most from their medical degree in terms of being prepared for applying to F1 and specialty training. It contains lots of suggestions for how students can maximise their medical degree, inside and outside of medical school, to have the best chance to pursue the career of their choice.
The booklet was officially launched at the BMA online fresher event on 21 October. We will be promoting the campaign over the 21/22 session – keep an eye out for more #ThinkAheadMed blog posts with advice from current students. If you would like a booklet, please request one.
We are also pleased that the graduate entry medical school at Ulster University has now opened, welcoming its first 70 students on 23 August. Until now, the only medical school in Northern Ireland has been at Queen’s University in Belfast, so NIMSC was delighted to welcome student representatives from UU onto the committee this session.
Clinical placement quality is another key area of work this year, carried over from last session. Following reports from students raising concerns regarding the variation in their clinical placement experience across the trusts in Northern Ireland, we have been exploring the range of experiences students have on placement. Although this issue has worsened due to the pandemic, it is not an issue solely limited to the past year; it had been raised before COVID. The committee plans to run its own survey to gather data from students on their clinical placement experience – we will be asking you to help us with this project and complete the survey when it comes out.
As always, if you are experiencing any problems at medical school from education, wellbeing or finance, please do get in contact with your year rep or BMA senior policy officer for medical students Hilary Nesbitt.
I hope you have a lovely Christmas and enjoy a well-deserved break. Take care of yourself and stay safe.