My personal journey to medicine

Eye-opening hospital work experience
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Today’s blog comes from Dr Yinka Oysbade who is approaching the end of Foundation Year 1 working in Leicester. Having loved all rotations as a medical student she is now trying to decide on a specialty to pursue!

“Like most medics I know, I wanted to be a doctor pretty much all of my childhood. My personal journey has taken slightly longer than usual but I’m grateful for the lessons learned along the way.

It began in my sixth form days, when I made my application to study medicine. I was pleased to be offered two places and I had my heart set on Manchester University. Then came results day and I achieved ABB. This meant I had to take up my insurance (5th) choice, Biomedical Sciences. This is where my first piece of advice comes in – use your 5th choice wisely and do your research. Be sure to apply for a course you would enjoy because you might just end up having to do it.

So, I embarked on my first degree with the goal of applying to medicine during my final year. This time I was armed with a revamped personal statement, a glowing reference and lots of volunteer experience under my belt.

The next piece of advice I would give is to be creative in acquiring experience. I volunteered in a charity shop, a maternity unit (making hot drinks and talking to mothers) and in a home for children with disabilities in Jamaica. Try to make your experience varied. The most important thing is not to chase a consultant around for two weeks but to really reflect on your experience and be able to talk about how it made you even more certain that medicine is for you.

I would also say it’s important to throw yourself into your first degree. Work as hard as you can to get the best grades and at the same time remember to develop other useful skills along the way such as scientific research, laboratory skills and essay writing techniques. All of these things come in handy once you start your medical degree.

yinka_oyebadeI applied to medicine (again!) in my final year of Biomedical Sciences. I applied to two 4-year courses and two 5-year courses. I was thrilled to be offered a place at Leicester University and with a 2.1 under my belt, I was good to go!

Studying medicine was certainly a dream come true but I must admit it was challenging at times – in fact, it was probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve learned that the key is to determine your own personal work style and do what’s best for you. I found that doing about two to three hours of study each evening was enough for me, but of course that didn’t include the library marathons I did in the run-up to finals. There is an array of resources available, from traditional textbooks to interactive online tools, as well as revision sessions run by junior doctors. Ample support is available so don’t suffer in silence.

For me, it was the clinical side of things that kept me going when times got rough. I thrived off being able to put my theoretical knowledge to practical use in the clinical settings. I was able to consolidate my learning by putting faces and names to the disease – a great help once finals came around! One of the best pieces of advice I received was to study well so you can be a great doctor and not so you can pass finals. Our focus must always be on our patients and providing the best care possible – everything else will fall into place. All the best as you embark on this amazing career!”

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