- Reading time: 3 minutes
- Price: Free download
- Published: 24th March 2022
- Price: Free download
- File format: Text
My decision to study medicine has not come from an epiphany, nor a life changing moment. It has come from an amalgamation of different experiences built up and reflected on from the past few years. Medicine is constantly developing field that has many challenges: intellectual, emotional and social. It is these challenges that excite me. Seeing the realities of medicine in community and secondary care to contextualise the evolving underpinning science has made me realise becoming a doctor is a challenge I wish to undertake. As an inquisitive individual, I believe that challenges are enriching to my personal development. I want to be a doctor to make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of society, through improving quality of life for individuals whilst contributing to the practice of medical research that drives healthcare forward.
Learning about genetics and the cell cycle at school, I wanted to explore further into these biochemical mechanisms. I was fascinated by Carey’s “The Epigenetic Revolution”, as I realised how environmental conditions can influence gene expression; in particular how tumour suppressor genes can be silenced epigenetically by methylation. The potential and complexity of reversing this process to reduce uncontrollable proliferation of cells is one of the interesting challenges that will face the medical profession in my generation. However, our the complexity of cancer biology seems mismatched with its current treatment This is something that I realised when shadowing an oncologist in a urology ward. Witnessing the oncologist explaining and managing the side effects of these chemotherapies made me realise the limitations of chemotherapy’s nonspecific approach.. The impact of these drugs that only target proliferating cells on the patient’s quality of life was particularly alarming , and brought home the potential for improving treatment such as personalised medicine. This experience however more importantly consolidated how the patient is not just the disease, but a human with a unique story. The doctor explained the illness in an accessible way which made me realise the role of the doctor as an educator and translator.
Volunteering as a meal time assistant in a gastroenterology ward for three months, I gave patients breakfast, which at times proved challenging. One patient who was nil-by-mouth was confused and frustrated about his meal plan. Talking to him required empathy and sensitivity. I realised how crucial communication skills are in a clinical environment. Working alongside the nurses, I emulated their friendliness, approachability and calm demeanour. As every patient was different, I developed my adaptability, listening skills and confidence. By understanding the patient behind the disease, I noticed hidden issues more easily. After speaking to an elderly patient, she told me she felt drained and suicidal. I learned the importance of the holistic approach, considering loneliness is common in hospitals. This made me more understanding, caring and emotionally resilient. I started to reflect on Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal” where the role of a doctor is not solely to ensure survival, but to enable wellbeing. I further appreciated this as a volunteer at a care home for physically disabled adults. Engaging with them and participating in activities, such as ‘wheelchair dancing’uplifted their mood. I appreciated how I made a small but meaningful difference to their day.
Observing bronchoscopy, I was impressed at how the doctor systematically collaborated with both the patient and the nurses to ensure the right dose of anaesthetic was given. It emphasised the effectiveness of teamwork which I applied when volunteering at my local pharmacy, allowing me to develop strong working relationships. Working at a fast pace and interacting with patients on the front desk enabled me to work practically under pressure, enhancing my professionalism and interpersonal skills. Picking out correct medications for prescriptions gave me insight into how common lifestyle diseases are a growing issue in modern medicine. This influenced me to undertake an EPQ on the extent in which obesity influences diabetes mellitus.
I have undertaken research and written a dissertation as part of Brilliant Club Scholar programme on assessing the safety of nuclear fusion as an energy source. This demanded academic rigour, critical thinking and evaluation, enabling me to achieve a First-Class Honours with distinction.
In my spare time, I enjoy playing the clarinet, where I am currently working towards grade 8. I feel that it is my creative outlet and personally enriching. Playing hockey in a team provides a sense of belonging and identity. I also enjoy reading fiction as a tool of relaxation.