On Saturday 28th September Gemma and I attended the National Health Careers Conference at the Oasis Academy, Manchester. We had an amazingly fulfilling day, talking to many prospective biomedical and medical students. It was wonderful to meet so many driven and ambitious young people and it imparted in both of us great hope that the future generation will help to drive forward medicine both scientifically and clinically.
On arrival we were met with a plethora of different stands, each offering information or teaching on different topics: from basic life support through to life as a pharmacist. There was a great vibrancy to the event which even the Manchester weather could not dampen. There was a key notes stage where speakers of various professions and interests would talk to students and their parents; it was here that we were lucky enough to listen to Matt Eagles, a gentleman who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age 7 and who now works as a patient advocate and keynote speaker. His talk was thought provoking and challenged the idea that Parkinson’s is a disease of the old.
We then sat on a panel, led by the BMJ’s editorial scholar, where students and parents could ask questions about medical school, the application process and what it is like being a doctor. This allowed us to pass on what we have learnt through our experiences both trying the get into medical school and being medical students.
Later on in the day we ran a workshop, focussing on biomedical sciences and medicine. Having both completed life science degrees we were able to pass on our knowledge regarding these fields and the different options students could take. We emphasised the flexibility the biomedical sciences offer, especially in the first year of study, something that appealed to both of us in our formative years when we were not totally sure what we wanted to do. We then had a long questions and answers session where students could as us whatever they wanted. Many of them were keen to study medicine and had various questions relating to this.
For me, this was the most rewarding part of the day. I remember when I was in their position and how confusing and daunting it all was; firstly trying to work out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and secondly how to go about achieving this. I hope that we were able to help illuminate, if only a little, their queries and concerns.
The day was extremely enjoyable and we would love to be part of future events! We hope that BWAMS can collaborate with the Health Careers team again, as we both share an aim in getting people from a variety of backgrounds to enter into the medical arena. I am passionate about this endeavour as I believe that this will help to drive greater innovation and progression in medicine.
Words: Kane Thomas