You’re our Medical Writer. How was your experience as a medical student?
Being a medical student was tough but in a good way. It was the most challenging journey I’ve ever experienced – years of my life that when thinking back to it, I wonder how I ever endured it all, but thinking forward, grateful that I did.
To sum it all up, the last few years felt like I was working a full-time job with clinical placements and regular performance reviews, while also studying a full-time degree at University.
Every day varied so much; on some days I was delivering coffees for everyone like Andy in Devil Wears Prada, while on other days I was holding a patient’s hand while they were being given a diagnosis of terminal cancer.
Learning medicine was like learning about life itself – it took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me intellectually, physically, and mentally on a daily basis, but at the same time, it was very humbling and allowed me to grow so much through the rare experiences that I was extremely lucky to have.
Was there an area of study that you or other medical students found particularly challenging?
The yearly Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, also known as the OSCEs, was by far the most challenging for most of us.
(The OSCEs were updated into a new Remote Clinical Exam format from 2020)
I think it had a large part to do with needing to literally ‘act’ on the spot after being given a particular scenario. We needed to demonstrate procedural skills, clinical reasoning skills, and patient-interaction skills to the best of our abilities within a very strict time limit, which is a way of examination that most of us had never experienced before.
What was your medical exam preparation strategy?
I’ve always believed in the “see one, do one, teach one” method when it comes to effective learning. For the written exams, I would create summary notes for every topic that I studied and later share these notes with my cohort to help others with exam preparation. This gave me a sense of accountability and made sure I really understood every single word I was writing down.
For the clinical exams, I would watch lots of videos, role play and practice the skills with my peers, and then create ‘marking’ sheets so that we can provide feedback for each other. The other most important strategy for me was to practise, practise, and practise – I believe that deliberate practise, can indeed make perfect.
When you were working in clinical practice, did that strategy continue to help you?
Yes, the strategies I used in medical school continued to help me in clinical practice. I now understand why people say we ‘practise’ medicine!
What do you like to do to relax?
I love putting on some good music and going for a jog along the river.
On days when I feel more like a sloth, I love watching Spanish shows on Netflix with a lit candle on the table and a glass of Shiraz in hand.