Just what the doctor ordered: Medical taster day at Sheffield University

medicAE'School children take part in the medical taster day run by Sheffield University
medicAE'School children take part in the medical taster day run by Sheffield University

SCHOOL pupils learnt about life as a doctor at a series of taster sessions organiser to give young people a flavour of life in the medical profession.

The four-day event was organised as part of the Outreach and Access to Medicine Scheme or SOAMS run by Sheffield University.

The initiative guarantees a place to study medicine at the university for anyone who joins up, assuming they achieve the necessary grades.

Over the course of the week the Year 12 pupils practised real medical skills like venepuncture and checking vital signs first hand.

They also received lectures from real doctors about a range of topics, from diabetes and plastic surgery to neonatology and cardiology, while mock interviews and career advice workshops prepared them for tough real-life medical interviews.

On the last day, the youngsters spent half a day at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, talking to doctors and patients and experiencing real hospital life.

And each evening the group wound down together with a series of social activities including bowling, a BBQ and a murder mystery evening, before staying over night in student halls of residence each night.

Shemina Davis, from Sheffield University, said she hoped the scheme would inspire the pupils to pursue a career in medicine.

“The aim is to give Year 12 pupils who have been part of the SOAMS scheme an intensive experience of life as a student doctor, building up their interviewing skills, people skills and team working skills,” she said.

Karl Boulton, aged 21, Medical Student Ambassador and a former SOAMS student, said: “I wanted to be involved in this summer school to help give something back to the scheme that helped me so much to get where I am today.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity for my development and it’s great to help students who were just like me reach their full potential.”

Charlotte Halton was one of those who took part.

The 17-year-old said: “I learnt so much and made so many new friends in the process. It has definitely helped me to develop my skills and improved my confidence in applying for medicine.

“The anatomy class and the work experience were particularly inspiring.”

Laurisa Robson, also 17, added: “I have had the opportunity to learn about professions and specialisms that I had never even heard of that are so incredibly exciting and interesting.

“I entered the week thinking the only job in medicine was being a doctor.

“This week has been one of the most important weeks in my life and I’m so lucky to have experienced it.”

Thomas Humphries, 17, said he had enjoyed the whole week.

“The SOAMS Summer School is valuable as it gives the opportunity of an insight into the medical profession that would otherwise be unavailable,” he said.

“The week has been enjoyable, not only the medical side but the social side as well. A full view of university life is given.”

The residential week is just one part of the SOAMS scheme, which begins in Year 9 when children are given talks by doctors and invited to visit the university.

At the end of Year 11, 30 of the best pupils can apply to the second phase of the scheme which includes the residential.

But even students who are unsuccessful are given medicine careers guidance for the future.