I know I’m super late on this one but It’s been a busy first week back at college. As it’s the weekend, I thought I’d sit down and write a blog post on the Medicine offer holder day I attended last week at the University of Manchester.
The schedule of the day began at 11 AM, but we arrived in Manchester a while before to view some accommodation! After which we made our way to the Stopford Building (the site of the offer holder day). Once we got to there we were given a short welcome talk and then a presentation on the Manchester programme, mainly focusing on the early years, and what makes it different from other medical schools! After this we were split up into smaller groups of ten (my group, funnily enough, was composed of all girls! Isn’t that weird?!) We then rotated around different taster sessions for a couple of hours, with lunch in between.
My first session of the day was having a go with the anatomy tables. These are essentially like giant iPads with a rotatable image of the human body on the screen. You can do all sorts with it, for example you can tap on a body part and it’ll name it, you can click to remove layers of the body (eg. skin, fat and muscle) to see what lies underneath, amongst many other things. It definitely seemed like something that would be useful when it comes to revising anatomy!
The next session I attended was the physiology taster session. This was probably one of my favourite sessions of the day. We got to play around with this simulated patient mannequin (not quite sure what you call it), named Sim I believe. You could listen to his heart, feel for his pulse (on his wrists, his temple and even his foot), as well as practice cannulation and taking blood! His heartbeat could be changed by the controller and we all had a listen using stethoscopes to see if we could notice the difference. I thought this seemed like a brilliant learning tool and a good way to practice some basic clinical skills before doing so on a real patient, as it gives the scope to make mistakes and learn from them, without harming anyone. The weirdest thing about the mannequin though, was the fact that he could blink! Yes, I repeat, the mannequin can blink! Another thing that I also found rather weird, albeit cool, is that you can see his chest going up and down as he breathes in and out, just like you would in a real person!
My last session before lunch was the PBL (Problem Based Learning) session. The programme at Manchester involves an aspect of Problem Based Learning, with early years students having 2 sessions a week of PBL, alongside corresponding lectures – this was one of the many reasons I actually applied to Manchester Medical School…I can’t imagine myself surviving a course that’s purely composed of lectures! Anyway, in this session we attempted a mock PBL case and went through what you’d look out for, and what you’d then go away and research before feeding back to the rest of your group in the next session of the week. I learnt that students come up with learning objectives or questions that they will go away and individually research, and that every student goes away and reads up on every question, rather than splitting the questions amongst the members of the group – I personally think this is better, because this way everyone has an in depth understanding of the topic, and if one person has misunderstood something, the other students will be able pick up on this and correct them.
After lunch, We had a ‘Meet the students’ session, which as the name suggests was where we met the students. It was actually really interesting, as well as useful, to hear a first hand point of view of what it’s like to be a medical student at Manchester. I also, learnt about the many intercalation opportunities available to Manchester medics…in fact, I think all the students that were running this session were intercalating in something or the other! This seems like a really exciting opportunity – to take a year out from medicine and do something a bit different, or to explore a topic you enjoy in greater detail, and on top of all that, obtain a BSc or Masters! Another thing that we were all welcome to hear from the students was that the first and second year of the MBChB programme aren’t as difficult as A-levels. Well thank god for that is all I can say!
My last taster session of the day was the consultations skills session. This was held in the Communication Skills Centre, which is where the interviews were held back in January…it’s safe to say that being there brought back memories!! In this session we were split into smaller groups and were allocated to a stimulated patient – an actor who plays the role of a patient. Here, we explored the idea of open and closed questions, the advantages and disadvantages of them both and learnt a bit more about how the stimulated patients and the theme of communication skills is integrated into the programme. That is another thing that seems brilliant about the course at Manchester – the fact that there is a real emphasis on communication. That’s probably why Manchester medical graduates are known to be excellent communicators!
Finally we had a talk on accommodation and then a wrap up talk focusing on the later years of the course. There was then a Q&A session where we had the chance to ask the staff and students anything we wanted.
Overall, it was a great day. Now all that’s standing in my way is those pesky grades…so I best get back to revising!
Credit for the beautiful photo of Whitworth Hall in the header goes to @gramadhan on Instagram!