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Two students observe a surgery
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Typical weeks

Typical weeks

FIRST YEAR STUDENTS

Two of our first year students write about their lectures, dissection classes and how they spend their free time whilst studying with us.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Mahdi Murtaza

Mahdi Muraza

Monday

First thing we have an anatomy lecture, which is always fascinating. The BSMS anatomy course is great, because it links different aspects of the curriculum together; it also ties in to the Dissection Room (DR) sessions, which I’ll talk about a bit later (Thursday, if you really want to know). Monday tends to be a fairly busy day; after lectures, we break into smaller module tutorial groups for group work. This normally relates to what we’ve been studying earlier on in the day, and acts as an excellent consolidator. Afterwards, I go home to unwind and relax for a little while – I play a lot of basketball, so I go to the gym and have a shootaround. In the evening, I head to the library and work for a bit.

Tuesday

At BSMS, for four days a week we have more science-based lectures on the University of Sussex campus, but Tuesday is a little different as it’s our clinical day. It’s particularly enjoyable because we’re on the Brighton campus, which is a grand total of three minutes from my flat by foot. We start off with a lecture on professionalism and interprofessional relationships, after which we break up into smaller groups with a numberof pharmacy and social care students – it’s a very interesting way to begin to appreciate just how valuable all the different members of the NHS are, and how they each contribute in their own meaningful way. The great thing about clinical practice days is that in the afternoon we get to go out on placements to a variety of healthcare settings which, as a first year, is pretty cool. Today, I’m off to Haywards Heath for my GP placement. So that pretty much takes up my day until about 6pm. Fret not, though, there’s still a lot to do – as a BSMS student, one of the perks is being able to partake in societies from both the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex, as well as our own BSMS-specific societies. I like to go to the Sussex Climate Change society on Tuesdays; it means I get to meet a whole host of new students, and still enjoy my interests outside of medical school, which is incredibly important: your life as a medical student should not be all doom and gloom and revision! 

Wednesday

Wednesday mornings are a particular favourite of mine, as we have group meetings with our academic tutors. My tutor always loves to crack jokes and somehow manages to make waking up at 9am almost, well, enjoyable.

On this particular Wednesday we’re talking about essay writing, a necessary skill to have, but surprisingly easy to pick up once you get here. Then we have a lecture on molecular cell biology, but after that, we’re essentially free. The medical school tries to keep Wednesday afternoons empty for sports fixtures and, as an avid basketball player, that means that I’m free to train for our upcoming matches.

Thursday

In the morning, we have a symposium on imaging the human body. The symposiums are similar to lectures, but they tend to be slightly longer and cover material in greater depth. It’s very helpful as it allows us to understand anatomy from a different aspect and ties in very well with the DR session later in the day. 

BSMS is one of the few medical schools that still does cadaveric dissection, so it’s a privilege, really. It reinforces our knowledge of the human body and is very helpful in learning anatomy. It’s also a unique experience unlike any other, and it gives appreciation to the intricacies ofanatomy in physical practice. 

Later I go to the library, then spend the evening with some friends at the Dodgeball Society at the University of Brighton. Yes, there really is a Dodgeball Society! It’s important to find time outside of work to relax and reflect upon your week, and spending time in a positive environment is certainly a good way to do that.

Friday

Finally, it’s Friday. Our first lecture is at 11am so I spend these free hours in the morning recapping the material we’ve been taught so far in the week. After lectures, I head to a Psychiatry Society meeting in the afternoon. The societies at BSMS are good fun and they work very well to complement our studies, providing a lot of super-curricular material. They are an excellent way to meet students from other years at BSMS and allow you to take on responsibilities for organising events, among various other roles. 

Life here is never monotonous. There is always time to try new things and meet new people. Ultimately, while I’m at medical school to become a doctor, I’m also here to become a more well-rounded person and I find that new experiences and a varied weekly schedule definitely helps with that. In the evening I catch up with friends for a movie and bowling – it’s very sociable here so you can always find something going on.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Sahiti Siri Kalapu

sahiti

Monday

This morning, we have a psychology lecture on learning and memory. It’s really interesting as we get to learn about how our mind acquires and stores knowledge. Our psychology lectures help strengthen our clinical skills. Following the lecture, we break into our module tutorial groups to take a formative quiz, discuss lectures and fill any gaps in our knowledge.

After a couple more lectures, I walk back home to Paddock Field with my flatmates. We have a relaxing tea break in our common room, then I retreat to my room to work on lecture notes. In the evening, I head to an African beats dance session run by the BSMS Dance society to unwind and relax after the long day.

Tuesday

Tuesdays are very exciting – clinical days! We kick start the day with a lecture, followed by seminar sessions in groups of 12 headed by a clinical facilitator. These sessions enable us to discuss and gain feedback on clinical material and often stimulate deep and thought-provoking discussions.

However, this week is slightly different as we explore interpersonal education. Following a brief lecture, we split into 16 groups along with students of pharmacy and social care. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know our professional peers, gain an understanding of multidisciplinary teams in medicine and develop our interpersonal skills.

In the afternoon, with my NHS medical student badge pinned to my chest and stethoscope around my neck, I’m off to Royal Sussex County Hospital for my Gastroenterology placement. I watch several endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures. Later, I sit in on consultations and practise my history-taking skills on real patients! By the end of the day,

I have developed a deep appreciation for gastroenterology and am already considering a career in it! At home, I fill my ePortfolio with clinical observations from today.

Wednesday

This morning, I’ve got my Academic Skills presentation – my topic is ‘Zika Virus and its effects’. I’ve got quite bad stage fright but my groupmates are very encouraging and help me feel at ease, and it goes well.

In the afternoon, I volunteer to work with Teddy Bear Hospital – organised by the Paediatric society to go into local primary schools and teach the younger kids about first aid. It’s really gratifying watching the children engage in learning with such enthusiasm.

The societies at BSMS complement our studies through programmes that support our curriculum, and they’re also good fun!

At home, I catch up with lecture notes before heading out with my friends for dinner and a movie in town.

Thursday

In the morning, we have a symposium on imaging the human body. We learn about imaging techniques in greater detail than is strictly required, but this helps develop a deeper understanding of lecture material and appreciate developing research in the field.

In the afternoon, we have a dissection session. Dissection is one of the primary reasons why 
I chose BSMS and I’m really looking forward to this session. We observe anatomical structures from our previous anatomy lecture on the thoracic wall. Dissection greatly strengthens your understanding of the human body by bringing to life anatomical structures from lectures.

Later in the evening, I go to a history-taking workshop by the BSMS Association for Medical Education and Clinical Skills to prepare for my clinical placement. We get to develop history- taking strategies and practise them in several clinical situations.

Friday

Today, we have practical microbiology sessions on the Moulsecoomb campus. Being a kinesthetic learner, I love practical sessions because they help me understand concepts much more clearly. We learn about using different lab techniques to test for different types of bacteria by actually performing them. So we test for Gram-negative and positive bacteria by performing the test on several bacterial species. This greatly helps our understanding of microbiology by adding a whole new dimension to learning the concepts.

In the evening, I attend Medic Mayhem – the biggest of all medic events here at BSMS. What sets it apart from all other events is that we get to socialise with medical students from all years as well as Foundation Year 1 and 2 doctors! It’s an opportunity for us first year medics to get a glimpse of what the coming years will be like for us.

But it’s no boring ‘networking’ event. Medic Mayhem is a medic-themed party where you all dress up as a medical pun. My mates and I go as sister chromosomes with arms ‘cross linked’ at the ‘chiasma’.  

Year 1 timetable

(A typical week)

Day Time  Activity 

 Monday

 9-1
 2-4
  Lectures and tutorial meeting
  Lectures
 Tuesday  9-10
10-12
  pm
 Clinical practice lecture
 Small group work with clinical practice facilitators
 Primary care/secondary care placement/clinical skills

 workshop 

 Wednesday   am
 pm
 Student-Selected Component (at the universities, hospital or other venues) 
 Free time for study and/or extra curricular activities such as sport 
 Thursday

 9-12  
 2-5

 Symposium – patients discuss how they have been affected by their condition / facilitated breakout sessions 
 Practical class: the dissecting room 
 Friday  11-1
 2-5
 Lectures
 Practical class: the laboratory

FOURTH YEAR STUDENTS

Two of our fourth year students write about their typical weeks in Year 4.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Rhiannon Hoggins 

Rhiannon Hoggins

Monday

Today I am at the 9am ear nose and throat (ENT) clinic at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Haywards Heath, sitting in with one of the ENT registrars. I observe the doctor taking the history and examining the patients. I get to practise my clinical skills as well, examining the ear using the otoscope – this is a new skill for me and so I’m a bit nervous at first. I also get to observe the use of a flexible nasal endoscope, noticing how the doctor communicates with patients to put them at ease. 

I meet my friend for lunch in the hospital restaurant where we chat about our weekend and what we’re doing in the afternoon. 

In the afternoon I’m in theatre. I arrive at 1.30pm and get changed into scrubs. I see a tonsillectomy for a patient with recurrent tonsillitis, as well as the fitting of a bone-anchored hearing aid. This is very interesting surgery to watch and between patients the doctor asks me questions and teaches me about the relevant anatomy. 

At 4pm I start the journey home feeling very satisfied since I feel that I have learnt a lot! After making dinner and catching up with my housemates I meet my friend for a drink. 

Tuesday

My day starts with ENT teaching at 10.30am (a rare lie in – hurrah!). Today I’m at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, where we’re being taught how to perform the relevant clinical skills in more detail: this involves neck examination and more practice examining the ear using an otoscope. It is really useful to have 1:1 clinical teaching with such an experienced ENT consultant and it’s always fun to practice our clinical skills on each other! 

In the afternoon I’m in clinic with one of the consultants. This time I feel much more confident using the otoscope and examining the ear following my teaching in the morning, and I’m able to visualise the normal ear drum as well as spot any abnormalities.

At 5pm I head to the library to meet a group of medical students in my year and an A&E registrar. I’m part of a group called the Wellness Medic, who are passionate about promoting healthcare professionals’ and students’ own wellbeing. As part of this we are organising talks, wellbeing retreats, supper clubs, yoga and meditation sessions. Our first talk is the following evening so we are agreeing the final details. We have a very productive meeting and are all very excited about the event!  

Wednesday

Today I am at PRH again for theatres in the morning. In the afternoon I have time off for personal study so I learn about medications commonly used in ENT. Afterwards I test myself using the app CAPSULE. The app was developed by BSMS and is really useful to work through clinical cases and answer the associated questions. 

Then I head to the gym and do a circuits class, which helps me to take my mind off medicine, plus I get to socialise with friends. At 5pm I head to the Wellness Medic event. It is great to see so many people interested in the project and to hear some really inspiring people talk. Afterwards we head out for dinner to celebrate our success. 

Thursday

This morning I am tutoring two children in GCSE biology, chemistry, and physics, something I enjoy doing every week. As Thursday is designated to our Individual Research Project, I meet with my supervisor at the Children’s Hospital. My project is looking at staff child protection training inthe hospital. I’m developing a questionnaire to send out to staff and then analysing the results, and producing a 3,000–5,000 word research paper. We are hoping to get the research published in an academic journal and present at conferences. 

Afterwards I head to the gym, then do some more work on my research project and relax with my housemates.

Friday

Fridays are dedicated to our general practice and public health module. Some days we attend lectures and then small group seminar teaching with our GP facilitator, and others we travel to our placement at a local GP surgery. Our lectures tend to focus on common clinical presentations to general practice. During the small group seminar teaching we discuss our experiences from the past week, which is a good opportunity to ask any questions that wemay have in a relaxed atmosphere. We also work through clinical cases discussing the history, examination and management of cases. 

Today I am attending my GP placement in Henfield for the entire day. I sit in with the doctor, observing and assisting in the consultation by examining patients and taking histories. 

Later in the day I am given my own list of patients and run my own clinic. This is under close observation of the GP, and together we discuss potential differential diagnoses and management plans. Through this experience I feel that I have learnt a lot and have gained in confidence. 

In the evening I catch up with my boyfriend, who lives in London.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Ivan Aganin

Ivan

Monday

At BSMS, the fourth year is divided into eight specialist rotations, each lasting five weeks. My second rotation this year is Neurology and Neurosurgery. Mondays start with small group seminars led by the neurology consultants who introduce us to the essential information on the subject. After covering the theory, a patient with a condition is invited to provide a unique opportunity to practise newly learned skills and focused history taking.

In the afternoon, I attend a neurology outpatient clinic. Under the observation of the consultant, I get to practise my freshly learned neurological examination. At first I feel under pressure, my hands are shaking and my technique is poor – not to mention the abnormalities that I miss... Nonetheless, with the encouragement from the doctor, I slowly gain confidence and my examination skills begin to look sleeker. Feeling uplifted after an encouraging clinic, I have a short break and get to the squash courts to join the University of Sussex squash team training.

Tuesday

I’m scheduled to be in theatres today, which means an early morning start. My partner and I arrive at the neurosurgery unit at 8am to clerk the patients scheduled for surgery later in the day. First we attend a patient with chronic subdural to take their history and carry out an examination. We’re then joined by the anaesthetist to prepare the patient for surgery. It’s decided that a burr hole decompression should be performed under local anaesthetic due to the patient’s comorbidities. Shortly before the operation we meet with the surgeon who goes over the CT scans and explains the plan for the upcoming procedure.

We help position the patient on the operating table and leave to scrub up. After the surgery we have a break and return to see our patient’s recovery and repeat the examination. Following a day in theatres I have dinner with my friends and head to BSMS hockey training.

Wednesday

Wednesday mornings start with seminars. After exploring the theory behind vertigo and ataxias, we are joined by a patient who has difficulties in his balance and speech. With the help of Dr Knibb, we examine the patient in small groups and come up with differential diagnoses. As a medical student it’s very rewarding to be able to create a list of differentials and start making diagnoses.

My afternoon is free, giving me the chance to write my GP case presentation, which
I will present on Friday. Before the end of the working day, I meet with my clinical academic tutor to discuss my progress throughout the last few months and future career planning. My legs are sore from squash and hockey so I opt for a quiet evening at home after
a long, fulfilling day.

Thursday

Throughout the year, Thursdays are allocated to our Individual Research Projects (IRPs). The IRP can be an audit focusing on some aspect of clinical practice, a systematic review or an academic lab-based investigation. This is a great opportunity to involve yourself with research, get inspired by the different clinicians and potentially publish your work (and of course it is great for your CV!). Pursuing my interest in acute medicine

I’m undertaking an audit focusing on major elderly trauma across the Sussex trauma network, in which Royal Sussex County Hospital, as a major trauma centre, has a central role. Using different databases
I attempt to collect as much data as possible before meeting with my supervisor to discuss the next steps in the project, which hopefully will one day be published.

In the evening, I tutor children in sciences and music, which is something I look forward to every week.

Friday

Fridays are reserved for our GP placements, lectures and seminar groups. The lecture on general practice and population medicine is followed by small group seminars led by GP facilitators. In our groups we cover different clinical scenarios and share our experiences in a less formal setting. To finish off, one

of the students presents the GP case from the current rotation, and this week it’s me. My presentation about the management
of epilepsy in primary care goes as planned and I’m happy with it.

After a quick lunch I drive to Eastbourne
 to join a GP for his afternoon clinic, where 
I get the chance to take histories and examine patients under his careful supervision and scrutiny. One of the patients has neurological deficit and I get to show off my newly-learned neurological examination skills. Together with the GP we formulate differential diagnosis and discuss a management plan.

Year 4 timetable

(A typical week)

Day Time  Activity 

 Monday

 8-5   

Specialist rotations (Musculoskeletal Medicine and Surgery; Ophthalmology and ENT; Infectious Diseases, HIV GUM and Health Protection; Dermatology; Neurology and Neurosurgery; Oncology, Haematology and Palliative Care; Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Paediatrics). Work includes: ward rounds, clinics, lectures and seminars, clinical skills teaching 

 Tuesday  8-5  Specialist rotations 
 Wednesday   8-5  Specialist rotations 
 Thursday

 8-5

 Individual Research Project. May include lab work, library research, data collection and analysis  
 Friday  am
 pm
 Lectures and group work on general practice 
 GP placement seeing patients with GP teacher