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A Week in Medical School At A Glance - 2nd Year Edition

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

So I’ll admit, I had a bit of writers block this week and struggled to decide what to write about but having posted consistently since the launch of this blog I wasn’t ready to end that streak just yet. So I decided to share what I’d been up to this past week in Medical School as a 2nd year medical student studying in the UK. It hasn’t been that interesting and truth be told I’ve been quite stressed due to my upcoming exams but I’ve managed to push through and I’m all smiles right now. If you have any questions feel free to comment below or email us and we’ll respond straight away! Anyway, enjoy the read!


Live Venipuncture

Having practised venipuncture on prosthetic arms in last weeks clinical skills session and actually carrying out a real venipuncture on one of my closest (needle-phobic) friends, we were given another opportunity to carry it out on another person. I cannot lie and say this was not an extremely nerve-wracking experience but I can say it was such an amazing learning opportunity. For those who don’t know what exactly venipuncture is, it is the process of obtaining intravenous access for the purpose of intravenous therapy or for blood sampling of venous blood; so basically collecting blood for a blood test. As a second year medical student this is a big thing for us, you’re  piercing another persons vein with the real life risk of something going wrong. When I carried it out on my needle-phobic friend, I was surprised by my ability to stay calm and collected and go ahead smoothly with the procedure whilst she was squirming, almost in tears and holding the hand of our supervisor. Although I’m not sure what I would like to specialise in, I now know that A&E can potentially be added to my list.

Case Based Learning

Every Monday and second Friday 10 of us gather in a room to discuss a particular case; let me quickly explain the entire process to you. So we are first presented with a case scenario which is read aloud and we identify any unfamiliar terminology and define it, we then go through the case line by line picking out key clinical and social aspects (it is important to think holistically when thinking about patient decisions etc). We put this all on a whiteboard, linking them together and explaining what we know about each. During this process we are able to identify holes in our knowledge and come up with learning outcomes that each of us must look into and answer over the course of the week. These CBL sessions usually last 3 hours and each particular case lasts for 2 weeks. In the first session we are given the scenario and come up with learning outcomes. In the second session we share our findings and knowledge from the previous LO’s and are also given a reveal from which we establish another set of LO’s. In the final session, we share our knowledge from the previous LO’s and that’s it!



Tuesdays will either be great, or terrible, depending on your timetable. Unfortunately for me I was in the group that started at 8:30am, yes 8:30am! I had a 2 hour tutorial about Immunology which consisted of us researching and answering the questions we were given and presenting our answers to the rest of the group. Prior to the tutorial you are given a series of hard questions which you will be answering in the tutorial. You’re supposed to look over these questions in your own time and do the pre-reading they assign, this makes the actual tutorial session a lot easier. When the tutorial facilitator goes over the answers during the session it is at this stage you will realise that the questions were in fact very easy and you completely overthought all of them. Make sure you do the work beforehand.


We then had a debate about ‘The Use of Paracetamol as an anti-pyretic in children’ and also about ‘Whether vaccinations should be compulsory’. It was a very heated debate but we managed to reach a conclusion eventually. Initially, I questioned the usefulness of such a session as it was almost 2 hours long but I soon began to realise the importance of understanding possible arguments patients might present to you in the future and how necessary it is for you to be fully aware of this.



I had three lectures in the morning, 9-12. Nothing special but it was a half day giving me time to go to the library and study for my upcoming exams.


Violence & Aggression Workshop

As medical students we are potentially at risk of violence just as much as other medical professionals. This was a session where we were taught manoeuvres to help us in violent situations. We learnt how to recognise warning signs, to calm potentially violent patients and manage difficult situations as well as to intervene safely when violence happens.

The number of reported assaults against NHS staff has increased by 8 per cent from 63,199 in 2012/13 to 68,683 in 2013/14.  The majority of these – 69% – occurred in mental health or learning disability settings.

Genetic Counselling Tutorial

This session was incredibly emotional, we watched videos about the impact of genetic disorders on children and discussed the difficulties of genetic counselling. As medical students it is so important to consider what families and patients go through when faced with tough decisions and it is vital to always be empathetic.



As it was the final session for this particular case we shared our findings and knowledge and that concluded the case. We also always have cake in our case sessions, to be honest that’s what most of us look forward to the most.

Case Wrap Up

In the case wrap up the whole year gathers in the lecture theatre, during this time we are given the opportunity to ask any questions we may have and also we are presented with Single Best Answer questions on that particular case so that we get a taste of the type of questions we will receive in our exams. Our case was on ‘Infectious Diseases’ and ironically 2 people in my year group came down with Mumps, so we got the opportunity to ask them questions. P.S. I hope you’ve had your MMR vaccines!


ACMA Launch

I attended the African Caribbean Medical Association UK Launch Conference in Cardiff and it was amazing to say the least. Upon our arrival we were greeted with refreshments and the opportunity to mingle with various medical students and medical professionals. The welcome address explained what lead to the creation of such an association, as the founders shared how they bonded over trials they faced half way through medical school and the desire to prevent such challenging times from arising again.

We were then spoken to by Yvonne Coghill. Ms Yvonne Coghill is a qualified nurse who has played a key role in promoting race equality in the NHS. Yvonne is currently the Director – WRES Implementation in NHS England, and is a member of the equality and diversity council at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the United States where she has helped develop their inclusion strategy, delivered workshops and was co-chair at their national forum in Orlando 2015. In 2013 Yvonne was voted by colleagues in the NHS as one of the top 50 most inspirational women, one of the top 50 most inspirational nurse leaders and one of the top 50 BME pioneers, two years in a row. Yvonne was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare in 2010.

She spoke on the topic of Race Equality in the NHS and it was incredibly enlightening. Yvonne presented some very astonishing statistics, particularly about the contribution of BME staff to the NHS. With 40% of hospital doctors from BME backgrounds, why are so few attaining the top jobs? Healthcare professionals from BME backgrounds are more likely to be performance managed and over their careers will be paid less and afforded fewer opportunities than their white counterparts. Alot of organisations are resitant to recognising that there is a problem with Institutional Racism and so we need Senior Leaders to get it and understand the possible consequences and implications if there isn’t a resolution.

It’s about equity, not equality – Yvonne Coghill OBE

BME healthcare professionals are subject to micro assaults and stressors, e.g:

  • being the only BME person in the room

  • not being able to readily get the products for your hair and skin

  • not seeing many people that look like you in high places

  • feeling ‘other’ as your cultural norms are different

  • receiving a reduced service in healthcare and in society generally

  • knowing that you have to be twice as good to go half as far

  • your children are more likely to be stopped by police

  • people not believing your lived experience

Our shared experiences are the reasons why it is incredibly important to have a support network with your best interests at heart. In the workshops we discussed barriers to success that we face as black people such as: lack of confidence and support, institutional racism, negativity and the fear of other people’s perceptions of you. Through this we established how important it is to read, understand and know our history as black people; what lead to the position we are in today and why we are where we are as a people.

It doesn’t matter the mud that you stand in now so long you are walking to the top of the hill – African Proverb

The entire event was great from start to finish and so I urge you to get involved! The change will not be immediate – it’s a marathon not a sprint.


The African Caribbean Medics Association (ACMA) is a newly founded organisation that aims to inspire and equip Afro-Caribbean students to pursue careers in the field of medicine and healthcare as well as to provide a platform that facilitates networking and encourages medical students and doctors to accomplish their career aspirations. ACMA also aims to achieve an increased presence of Afro-Caribbean’s at every level in medical schools within the health profession.

The objective of the Afro-Caribbean Medics Association are to promote good race relations and equality of opportunity within medical schools and the health profession in England and Wales as well as the wider community.

INSPIRE – To inspire and equip Afro-Caribbean students to pursue careers in the field of medicine and healthcare. ASPIRE – To provide a platform that facilitates networking and encourages medical students and doctors to accomplish their career aspirations ACHIEVE – To achieve an increased presence of Afro-Caribbean’s at every level in medical schools and within the heath profession

Check out a blog post written by one of their founders here: Duty of Care: the network supporting black medics and doctors

Follow ACMA on their Instagram: @acma_uk or email them:

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