Medicine Personal Statement
My interest in studying medicine stemmed from a deep curiosity about the human body and a wish to work with people.
As I researched what was involved in being a doctor, I realised that this was what I really wanted to do. Attending a medical careers conference at Methodist College in Belfast and work experience confirmed my desire to become a doctor.
To further my insight into a career in medicine I spent a week at a health centre. Sitting in on a GP's surgery demonstrated how family doctors integrate with the community and deal with all aspects of patient health. During consultation with a bereaved patient I was able to appreciate the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship.
Afternoons with midwives, health visitors and treatment nurses at the health centre showed me how community doctors work in a team with other health professionals. The GP I shadowed also worked in endoscopy and allowed me to observe procedures. I was interested to learn in a more applied way than from textbook. After this work experience, I tried to gain caring experience at a hospital and two care homes. All told me that accepting volunteers under the age of 18 was against policy.
Wanting to learn more about hospital medicine, I spent a week in a cardiology unit. I was amazed by the effect seemingly simple procedures such as coronary angiograms and stent insertions had on patient quality of life. In the cardiology follow-up clinic I noted how consultants need diplomacy and patience to sidestep complaints irrelevant to their specialty.
I gained an insight into junior doctors' duties by shadowing two for a day. I learned about heart problems watching clinical physiologists run exercise stress tests and at the nurse-led Chest Pain clinic. I also shadowed a surgeon specialising in hepatobiliary disease in the Republic of Ireland. In theatre I witnessed laparoscopic cholecystectomies, a partial hepatectomy and a Whipple's procedure. I saw the same patients recovering at rounds at 7am each morning, where I observed the respective roles of the consultant, registrar, SHO, JHO and ward nurses.
Last year I volunteered with Marie Curie Cancer Care every Friday, sorting and sterilising donations to their shop. The charity funds cancer research and provides palliative care.
My Saturday job in a pharmacy has given me experience working with the public. My duties include delivering medication to seriously ill people (enabling me to see the role of community care) and dealing with a few difficult customers, requiring patience and good communication skills. I have applied for a further part-time job as a medical laboratory assistant in a hospital.
I am an avid reader. Apart from fiction, I enjoy popular-science books by Richard Dawkins, Oliver Sacks and Michio Kaku. I keep up with news in science and medicine by reading New Scientist and the Student BMJ. As a politics student I must stay informed on current issues, helping me to develop the skills necessary for life-long learning - a vital part of being a doctor.
I have a passion for music: I can play piano and am teaching myself guitar. I am also learning to speak Italian and preparing for my driving test. I ran in the 2005 and 2007 Belfast Marathons to raise money for charity and have surfed at national level, improving my fitness and stamina.
I am a certified First Aider. Being the eldest of six has given me lots of experience with children. With two classmates, I wrote and directed a play for younger students, requiring creativity, teamwork and commitment.
As a school prefect I worked with pupils adjusting to their new school. I was chosen to take part in ACCESS, which focussed on teambuilding across a culture divide. I am confident and articulate, participating in the International Soroptimist Public Speaking competition. My work experience afforded me a glimpse into many health professions, but I am certain of my choice of career. I am intent on studying medicine either as an undergraduate or a graduate.
This personal statement got me interviews from the University of East Anglia, Leeds, Aberdeen and Peninsula Medical School - and offers from the latter three. It's not Dostoevsky, but it doesn't have to be: it's about packing in as much relevant information as possible. Oh, and get as much work experience as you possibly can.