Student spotlight on Laura

Eye-opening hospital work experience
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Caitlin on placement in obstetrics and gynaecology What is your fondest memory from your time in Iringa?

I have so many fond memories from when I was in Iringa it’s hard to pick just one. I loved visiting the orphanage and spending time playing with the children; I also enjoyed meeting all the people on the Gapmedics placement with me, it was nice to be around people who had similar interests as me, everyone got on so well. I can’t miss out the safari, it was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget, I definitely recommend it to everyone!

Can you detail a few of the most eye-opening experiences you had on your hospital placement?

Assisting in both natural and caesarean births has to be the highlight of my placement. It was a privileged to have been a part of such an important moment for the mother and child; it was amazing and something that I will always remember.

Have you always been interested in pursuing a career in healthcare?

I have been very interested in pursuing a career in medicine since high school I always knew I wanted to work to help people and at first I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do this by caring for them in a hospital etc or via scientific research into new drugs and medicines. After doing more research and carrying out voluntary work with a children’s special needs group and at my local hospice I realised I was able to combine my passion to help and care for others and love of science if I was to study medicine and become a doctor. And this is when I looked to Gapmedics to provide me with a challenging and eye opening placement on a hospital ward in Tanzania to test myself and see if this really was what I wanted to do.

What A Levels did you take?

Maths, Chemistry and Biology I also studied psychology at AS Level

How did you find the application process for medical school? Do you have any tips for future students?

I think the process for applying to medical school is hard one, up until then I hadn’t any experience in this area. I found it especially challenging for medicine because its slightly different than applying for other courses, for example you may have to take an entrance exam, I did the UKCAT which is something I had to organise and prepare for myself. Also your personal statement isn’t just about your subject academically but a combination of many different experiences you have gained and learning how to reflect on these and condense it into only what is relevant can be difficult, I remember having so much I wanted to right and really struggled to cut it down to what I was allowed on my ucas form. Also medicine is a vocation not just a university course which is something you really have to think through thoroughly not only whether you want to study it for the next five years but for the rest of your life, which doesn’t apply the same to some other courses. Applying for medicine alongside studying for a levels is difficult but if you really want to be successful in medicine it is a challenge you will be willing to rise to and learn a lot from, I found it very useful and helpful talking to people who had been successful and where now current medical students.

How did your Gap Medics hospital placement overseas prepare you for medical school?

My Gapmedics placement reinforced my open-mindedness and reassured me that medicine was truly what I wanted to do. It gave me the confidence to go ahead with my application and has made me even more determined to become a successful doctor in the future and help as many people as I can. 

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