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Two students observe a surgery
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Typical weeks

Typical weeks

FIRST YEAR STUDENTS

Three 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

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’.  

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Jack Whiting

 

jack whiting dissection

Monday

Monday is often a hectic day of lectures to start off the week, but today I also have an infection and immunity tutorial, which is great as so far it’s my favourite topic. I love being able to immerse myself in the lectures and then discuss the topic in more detail in the smaller tutorial groups with my peers. We all have strengths in different areas, so it really does help everybody. After the various lectures I go home and do some work on my module essay. In parallel with the course in general there is a vast range of topics to choose from. Unsurprisingly, I went for explaining the relationship between the innate and adaptive immune systems. In the evening I spend some time in the communal areas of Stanmer Court. Living in halls is great because you can study by yourself in your room, but you’re never too far away from some excitement if you need a break!

Tuesday

Tuesdays are clinical days, where we really start to feel like doctors! We dress in smart clothes, grab our stethoscopes and head over to the Brighton Campus. The morning is usually made up of lectures and seminar groups on the patient-doctor dynamics and ethics of practice. It’s always interesting to hear others bring up points that you’d never considered. We also learn the best ways to communicate specifically with patients, which is a whole art in itself.

In the afternoon we head off to our placements. Last week I was with a GP, but today I go to the renal department at the hospital. We start with some discussions into dialysis and other renal care procedures, and then walk around the wards and chat to patients. I’m lucky enough to observe some surgery – insertion of a tunnel line. It’s amazing to see all the different routes a doctor can take once they’ve graduated.

Wednesday

I have to give an oral presentation to my peers and academic tutor, comparing the use of Radiotherapy and Cordotomy in the treatment of cancer pain. Having chosen a topic, it was fun to be able to take it as far as I liked, and really dig into some complicated research papers – medicine is all about being inquisitive after all! The oral presentations are yet another chance to learn from the students around me, with presentations such as ‘New Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis’ and ‘The Ethics of Euthanasia’.

Wednesday afternoons are arguably the most relaxed time of the week as they are always free for sport. I am in the BSMS men’s football team, which is made up of first years all the way up to fifth years. It’s a great way to unwind, and also to meet people outside of your cohort and find out what we’ve got to come. There are also loads of sports teams and societies from both Brighton and Sussex campuses, which all BSMS students have access to. This means we can socialise with non-medics and really expand our horizons (medical jokes do get boring after a while, believe it or not!)

Thursday

We have a symposium today on the Human Genome and other molecular cell biology topics. Lecturers are consultant clinicians and the symposiums are generally pitched above the level you need to know for this term, meaning we have the chance to go further in depth. There are often small group discussions before a quiz at the end so we can see how we are doing. Having such a small year group who we spend so much time with means we all know each other really well, and if anyone has any problems there’s always someone there to lend a hand.

In the afternoon I have my dissection session. I find learning anatomy with the aid of our cadavers extremely helpful – it means you can really see first-hand what you have learned in a lecture, in a real life setting. It also makes it a lot clearer how all the parts of the body system work in conjunction with one another.

Friday

Sometimes if we’re lucky we get a lie in until 9am on a Friday! It’s also when many of the practical sessions take place, and today we have microscopy of the skin.

The medical social calendar is jam packed, and I’ll be heading out with friends tonight. A few weeks ago we had D-RAG, which is all about raising money for charity. It’s a requirement for all of the guys to dress up in their best frocks, wear their best make up and hit the town. It’s a fantastic night, but I still cringe when I see myself wearing bright red lipstick!

Another huge night out is Medic Mayhem, with medics from Year 1 all the way up to foundation doctors in attendance! Everyone dresses up in medical-related fancy dress, and a whole club is hired out for some truly spectacular antics.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Helena Cook

 

Helena Cook lecture 3

Monday

This morning we have a lecture on genetic changes in cancer, before breaking into our module tutorial groups. Today’s is about viruses. I like these because we get an opportunity to discuss the lecture material with our peers, and clarify anything we don’t understand. 

After a couple more lectures I walk back to my accommodation in Lewes Court with my flatmates. In the evening I go to a workshop run by second-year students to help first years practise their patient historytaking skills. The societies at BSMS really complement our studies. It’s so useful to consolidate my knowledge, and I know I’ll feel so much more confident when I go to do it tomorrow! 

Tuesday

Today’s our weekly clinical day on Brighton campus, my favourite. They’re pretty full on, but let you pretend that you’re a real doctor for the day – and I get to wear my stethoscope! After a lecture we have seminar groups, building on what we’ve just learnt. There are 12 of us, with a facilitator to help the session, and we break off into smaller groups to discuss subjects in greater depth. It’s great to hear everyone else’s perspectives on healthcare, as well as get peer feedback on your consulting skills.

This afternoon, I’m off to the GP to sit in on a few patient consultations and practise history taking on real patients! Then, my GP partner and I pop in to see the newborn baby we’re observing for our family study. I’m considering a career in paediatrics so this is especially interesting for me. It’s a fairly late day, but I love it. At home, I write up my notes from this afternoon before doing a bit more of my module essay.

Wednesday

In Phase 1, we have Wednesday afternoons free for sport, so it’s a fairly quiet day. I have an academic tutor session in the morning – we’re currently doing presentations. Mine’s on bird flu, and I’m pretty nervous, but because I’m up first I can then relax and enjoy the others.

In the afternoon I’m off out with BrightWAMS to teach ‘medicine’ to year 5–6 students in Brighton. It’s great fun, and so rewarding to watch the kids really engaging with what you’re teaching them – you feel such a sense of achievement! Later I catch up on lecture notes, before having some tea and relaxing with some friends.

Thursday

We have a cancer symposium this morning, which is a great way to enhance our lecture material. It goes into greater detail than the material we need to know, but it’s so interesting to learn about developing fields. There’s a quick lunch break before a dissection room session in the afternoon.

Dissection was a large part of my reason for choosing BSMS – it’s so much easier to learn anatomy when you are able to see and manipulate it in front of you. In the evening I head out to netball with my flatmates. This is a good way to distress and forget about our imminent exams for two hours! 

Friday

Friday’s the most relaxed day of the week – we start at 11! After a psychology lecture, we split into smaller groups to do some microscopy work. We go through the material, and then we use IT to identify microscopic structures. Medicine is such a hands-on subject that this helps us apply what we’ve learnt in lectures. This week it’s inflammation, which comes up in multiple themes throughout the module, so it’s especially relevant.

In the evening, I’m off out on a MedSoc social. There’s at least one a week, plus lots of other events from different societies. Tonight’s a big one: medic mayhem. Everyone from BSMS goes out dressed as something medically related – the ‘punnier’, the better! It’s a great way to mix with people from other years, and blow off some steam before exams. I dress as a CT scan, with cat ears and whiskers, and my flatmates are a ganglion – a gang of lions!

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

Three of our fourth year students write about their research projects, specialist rotations and organising student union events.

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.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Peter Abiose

peter abiose

Monday

Year 4 is divided into specialist rotations which we experience as small student groups, and my second rotation is ophthalmology. Monday morning starts with introductory interactive lectures by consultant ophthalmologists and registrars on the anatomy of the eye. At the end, a patient comes in to talk about the challenges of living with partial sight. This talk emphasises the importance of patient-centred care and the role of a multidisciplinary approach to helping people with sight problems.

In the afternoon, I attend the age-related macular clinic at the eye hospital. An ophthalmology registrar shows me how to take a history and assess the eyes using an ophthalmoscope. The high point of the session is when he instructs me on how to use a slit lamp. After a few tries, I can spot the differences at the back of the patient’s eye compared with the registrar’s normal eye. Practical teaching sessions like this are a very exciting way to consolidate our anatomy lectures in the morning. I head home feeling euphoric and more knowledgeable about the eye.

Tuesday

One of the most exciting aspects of ophthalmology is that it offers a good mix of medicine and surgery. Tuesday starts early on the wards with the consultant going through the operating list for the morning. Together with the registrar, my student partner and I meet the patients and talk them through pre-operative assessment and consenting for cataract surgery. We then change into hospital scrubs to observe the morning list in the theatres.

This year we’ve been paired up with a registrar based on our interests, so after the afternoon lectures I meet up with my registrar tutor to discuss which aspects I’d like help with. Later I meet up with friends to watch the new Bond movie and have dinner at Brighton Marina.

Wednesday

The morning starts with a general ophthalmology clinic, where I learn about diabetic retinopathies and how to assess them. After history taking and examination, with the help of the consultant I formulate a management plan for each patient.

My elective placement was spent in London at an academic vascular surgery unit, which I thoroughly enjoyed – I was even able to submit an article for publication in a journal. I’m a member of the Surgical Society at BSMS, and my time in London confirmed my interest in a surgical specialty. Career planning is one of the sign offs in Year Four and I meet with my clinical academic tutor to discuss my elective and discuss the pros and cons of each specialty. I have the afternoon off so spend it writing up my GP case presentation. In the evening I head down to my local gym with a couple of friends.

Thursday

Thursdays are timetabled for our individual research projects (IRPs), which offer the opportunity to develop and polish your investigative skills. The IRP can be an audit of hospital procedures, systematic review in clinical care or lab-based scientific research. There is potential to get your work published, which is a great bonus for your CV and future career. I’m investigating the Paxillin gene, which requires learning techniques in bioinformatics and molecular biology to investigate the cell and determine what happens when things go wrong on a molecular level.

After a morning in the lab, I meet my supervisor to make sure I’m on the right path and discuss next steps. I spend the evening at a friend’s playing football video games. I hope the link documented between playing video games and improved laparoscopic skills holds true!

Friday

General practice is a core aspect of the NHS and serves as the first point of call for most patients. In fourth year, Fridays are reserved for our GP placements, lectures and seminar groups. At my placement I observe the GP interacting with patients and discussing their conditions. The placement is hands-on, so after the first two patients, I take over the consultation. For the rest of the morning, the GP observes me as I take histories and examine patients and formulate differential diagnoses. I discuss these with the GP and together with the patient we come up with a management plan. It’s fascinating to meet patients from different backgrounds with diverse conditions from sore throats to fibromyalgia.

In the afternoon, we have lectures on general practice and population medicine. We then divide into smaller groups and, together with a GP facilitator, discuss case histories and share our experiences in a more informal session. Brighton has a very vibrant nightlife and tonight I meet up with friends at one of the seaside bars for a bit of socialising.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Jaz Singh

Jaz in library

Monday

I’m currently on the dermatology rotation, so my week starts with a 9am lecture at the Brighton General Hospital, with this week focussing on the common causes and treatments of itchy skin. These lectures are delivered by consultants and registrars, but the small group sizes (around 20 students per rotation) mean each session is interactive and more informal than a lecture setting. So it’s a really great way to get back into studying medicine, after spending the past year intercalating in Healthcare Management at King’s College London.

My afternoon is spent in a hair loss clinic, again at Brighton General. This interesting clinic allows me to see there is much more to dermatology than I first thought. The consultant allows me to watch him interact with a few patients before he sends me off to take blood pressures and histories myself. At first I’m a bit nervous but after the second or third patient I find my feet again and have a really enjoyable afternoon.

When the clinic finishes I head back home and start attending to admin – I’m the president of MedSoc this year, and while it’s tremendous fun it also requires a lot of time and attention. I’m currently working on the Phase 1 Winter Ball, which is fast approaching.

In the evening I head over to the Falmer campus for hockey training. As well as the BSMS mixed hockey team, I play for the University of Sussex Women’s hockey team, which is a great opportunity to play additional matches and tournaments, as well as socialize with non-medics.

Tuesday

I head to the gym first thing, trying to bring my fitness back up to scratch after a long summer on my elective in Sri Lanka, then get some study done.

In the afternoon I attend a melanoma followup clinic. Speaking to patients is a great way to learn, and writing in the notes and coming up with treatment plans with the consultant allows me to really feel like I’m making a difference to patients’ treatment.

Wednesday

Fourth year is made up of rotations that allow us to experience different specialties. Each rotation has its own timetable of activities and clinical experiences unique to that field. This morning I cover the dermatology lectures that have been put up on StudentCentral for us to go over in our own time. My housemate is on the same rotation as me, so we head to the library together to work through them, and write quizzes to test ourselves.

Although dermatology doesn’t have much inpatient activity, other rotations have ward rounds and lots of ward work timetabled in, so when I change to another specialty I will be attending those.

Later on Wednesday afternoon I’m able to attend the match Sussex Hockey are playing this week. This is a great chance to catch up with the girls – because I intercalated I haven’t seen them much for the past year. It’s nice to play some sport, and have a bit of time away from medicine.

We head back down to Brighton victorious, and get changed into our fancy dress for the evening. Wednesday is sports night, so we meet up with all the other sports teams at a club.

Thursday

Thursdays are dedicated to our individual research project (IRP). IRPs are a good chance to further explore areas of personal interest, and many students go on to publish their research, which looks great on the CV. My IRP involves making a medical education video with three other students, so we have a quick catch up about what we’ve done so far to check everyone is on the right track. We then have a lunch time meeting with our supervisors, to ensure we’re taking the project in the right direction.

In the evening I have a MedSoc meeting on campus again. We have reps from every year on the committee, to ensure that every single student has a voice about any concerns or queries they have. Afterwards I catch up with some of my friends from my year and the year above.

Friday

Fridays in fourth year are dedicated to general practice, and in the morning I have lectures at Falmer campus. Over the course of the year these cover topics ranging from medical emergencies in the surgery to how to correctly diagnose a sore throat. Afterwards we break off into small seminar groups to discuss what we learnt in the morning.

In the afternoon I head off to my GP placement. At the clinic I observe the GP interacting with and treating the wide range of patients who come in. Next week I’ll be taking histories and doing examinations myself so I’m very excited to practise medicine in such a hands-on way.

While I have work to read up on over the weekend I still find time to meet my friends and have some down time at a few of the numerous bars Brighton has to offer.

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