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My Experience In Medicine Volunteering

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Having long had a particular interest in the complex workings of the human body I have researched a variety of topics including liposomal drug delivery and continue to be updated with current medical affairs. This led me to investigate a career in medicine and arrange work experience. I enjoy reading and attending a variety of lectures and topics in medicine; one, ‘The future: The end of AIDS and biological diversity’ inspiring me to research further and ultimately complete my EPQ titled: An Investigation into the chemical composition and the uses of medical marijuana as an analgesic for common diseases.

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I have been personally affected by the effects of the experiences of my aunt who has been recently diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. As a member of the family I have appreciated the compassion and empathy shown by doctors and the wider medical teams. Further reading, my work experience and voluntary work have convinced me that it is the career I wish to pursue. Through a residential course at UCL I was able to explore careers in a variety of areas. This exposed me to some of the realities of the profession that go beyond Grey’s Anatomy and taught me about some of the emotional and physical challenges that a career in medicine involves.

During work experience in trauma and orthopaedics I observed the reconstruction of a broken wrist. During my time shadowing a consultant oncologist, I met a 16-year-old boy who had terminal stage 4 metastatic cancer and whose treatment had prevented puberty. I was able to listen in on treatment options. Whilst emotionally challenging, over time I felt more confident speaking to him at what was clearly a very difficult time.

I was impressed with the care that the consultant took in ensuring the patient fully understood the implications of each treatment so that he could make his own decision. I was fortunate to be allowed to sit in on a multidisciplinary team meeting, during which a discussion about care for a 12-year-old paracetamol overdose patient was planned. I learnt the importance placed on fully informing the whole team to minimise further risk of self-harm. I was struck by the wider team required to provide adequate care, in this specific case the hospital councillor and child psychologist.

My work experience inspired me to take a more active volunteering role in my community; I volunteered in a nursing home with elderly and infirm patients where I accompanied them to classes such as music and cookery. I particularly enjoyed the time I spent with a resident suffering with advanced MS and dementia; initially his dementia made it very difficult to communicate effectively but over time I learnt that he was a talented pianist; and by making that our first activity it would act as a positive trigger for his memory and make the rest of our time together more productive.

Visiting a wheel chair bound woman has taught me about the wide ranging emotional as well as physical impacts of disability, having been confined to a wheelchair at the age of 36 following a spinal operation. This woman now has to rely on full time careers to allow her to live at home and assist her in carrying out basic daily activities. What started as an opportunity to shadow an in-home career turned into an on-going relationship with the patient which has seen me return once a week since.

As founder of the African Caribbean Society I have organized events including a whole school assembly in collaboration with the Steven Lawrence Trust; after having attended the 25th memorial. As a keen athlete I have frequently represented the county at the English Schools Championships, I have previously been ranked no. 1 in London and 4th in the UK in the 800m and have been scouted to compete for Bermuda at the Carifta Games. Having been selected as school sports prefect, I am responsible for coaching younger athletes. I believe I have the humility, compassion and determination to pursue a degree in Medicine.

18 March 2020

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