NHS work place­ments boost univer­sity suc­cess

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

NHS High­land has wel­comed the first two groups of se­condary school pupils for this year’s Doc­tors at Work pro­gramme, writes Katie Cara­bine.

The pro­gramme, which has been run­ning for five years, gives pupils an in­valu­able in­sight into their cho­sen ca­reer and an un­der­stand­ing of the re­al­i­ties of work­ing in a hospi­tal.

The pro­gramme is go­ing from strength to strength, and with record num­bers of ap­pli­cants, the pro­gramme will now be run­ning on five oc­ca­sions across the year.

Dr Emma Wat­son, di­rec­tor of med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion for NHS High­land ex­plained that the pro­gramme has been a suc­cess and has also in­creased the num­ber of stu­dents from High­land be­ing ac­cepted into med­i­cal schools.

She said: ‘The pro­gramme is a five- day work place­ment for pupils who are in­tend­ing to ap­ply for medicine. This year we have 40 stu­dents over the five weeks, most of which are from the High­land Coun­cil re­gion, but we have also wel­comed stu­dents from the Western Isles.

‘Those tak­ing part get to ex­pe­ri­ence a va­ri­ety of clin­i­cal set­tings, in­clud­ing wards, the­atres and clin­ics across a range of spe­cial­i­ties in­clud­ing sur­gi­cal, or­thopaedics, di­ag­nos­tics and medicine.

‘The stu­dents also have the op­por­tu­nity to talk to med­i­cal stu­dents who are work­ing in the hospi­tal and can give them an in­sight on what their med­i­cal school life will be like.’

His­tor­i­cally, High­land pupils have been at a dis­ad­van­tage when com­pet­ing for places in medicine and health­care ca­reers but this trend is be­gin­ning to change as a re­sult of ini­tia­tives such as this. Since 2012, 63 per cent of pupils that have taken part in this pro­gramme and have then ap­plied for med­i­cal school have been suc­cess­ful.

The course has proved pop­u­lar with stu­dents, with com­ments given in­clud­ing ‘liked the va­ri­ety that medicine has to of­fer’; ‘like the aca­demic and re­search side that medicine of­fers’ and ‘there is noth­ing bet­ter than see­ing a pa­tient get­ting bet­ter and know­ing you’ve helped with that.’

Dr Wat­son added: ‘This pro­gramme is open to young peo­ple from all back­grounds and we are go­ing to fur­ther grow this ini­tia­tive by iden­ti­fy­ing bright, car­ing and com­pas­sion­ate school pupils who for rea­sons out­with their con­trol may not achieve the tra­di­tional re­quire­ments for medicine or have the abil­ity for medicine but are from ar­eas which have no tra­di­tion of univer­sity en­trance. We want to en­cour­age and help them to ap­ply to gate­way medicine cour­ses.

‘We would like more young peo­ple from High­land to con­sider medicine as a pro­fes­sion.

‘By en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple from this area to en­ter into medicine we hope stu­dents we see tak­ing part in these pro­grammes are the doc­tors we will see com­ing back to work in the area.’

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