"I chose the medical school because I was very impressed by the high student satisfaction rate. I also thought there would be advantages to being part of two universities (both Brighton and Sussex) and being able to use their facilities.
"In terms of the course, I was motivated by having patient contact from the very beginning and being able to do participate in cadaveric dissection. Also, Brighton is a lively city with plenty going on, so I was excited to live and study there!
"The best part of studying at BSMS has been the integration of clinical practice and practical skills. This has allowed me to ground my learning in a clinical context, and prepare me for the realities of being a doctor.
"With such a long and demanding course, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the ever-growing 'to do' list. There will always be some deadlines that you have to keep up with, but it is also important to learn when to take a night off. I have learnt the importance of getting involved in regular extra-curricular activities to keep things in perspective and also reflection and refreshment outside of study.
"The first year comprises three 10-week terms. Generally, there are about 8-10 single hour lectures each week, along with a 3-hour symposium on a clinical condition, a 3-hour dissection session and perhaps a tutorial. Tuesday is allocated to clinical teaching, and involves a morning lecture, followed by a group tutorial. The afternoon is spent in clinical skills teaching or at a primary or secondary care clinical placement. Wednesday mornings are usually spent undertaking your student-selected component (SSC) which allows you to explore a chosen topic in more depth in a small group. Wednesday afternoons are allocated to sports or personal study.
"The course has a more traditional lecture-based approach. However, aside from core lectures, most Year 1 teaching occurs in small group tutorials, dissection sessions, clinical skills practicals, laboratory sessions and interactive imaging classes. The course is systems-based, incorporating both biomedical and psychosocial science in a “spiral” model, so that you continually revisit topics, adding more detail or a different perspective each time. 3 hours are allocated to dissection weekly. The sessions involve working in small groups, with integration of clinically relevant prosections to provide further learning opportunities.
"In first year, about a quarter of the teaching is clinically based, including placements in primary and secondary care. Clinical skills teaching sessions allow you to develop skills of taking histories, examining patients and communicating effectively in a simulated environment. Further opportunity for patient contact is afforded by regular meetings with a family with a new baby in the first year, and a longitudinal clerkship following a patient with dementia in the second and third years. Daily patient contact begins in third year and continues throughout the remainder of the course.
"There is plenty of time for extra-curricular activities with effective time management. I am a Student Ambassador, a near-peer teacher for the Association for Medical Education and Clinical Skills and am on the committee for the Student Anatomy Society. Additionally, I have written articles for the Student BMJ and have worked with the ”Teddybear Hospital” scheme in which we visit local primary schools, and teach the children about the job of a doctor.
"Don’t try to portray yourself as something you’re not. Admissions tutors are looking for someone who has the potential to be a great doctor, not someone who already perfectly polished. It’s also important to be aware of topical issues relating to medicine, to prove that you have considered the realities of life as a doctor and demonstrate your commitment to what will be a challenging, but very rewarding journey.
"There are a wealth of things to do in Brighton including restaurants, clubs and cultural sights, like the Royal Pavilion. The Fringe Festival is an annual event which has a number of events around Brighton in May and June and is always worth a visit!"
*This interview was previously featured in the Student BMJ journal.