Medicine Personal Statement
After a week in the obstetrics department of the John Radcliffe Hospital, I was utterly exhausted. It was hot, stressful and terrifying; an alien environment of blood and apparently incessant confusion. Yet I still wanted to get out of bed every morning, and do it again. The same could be said of my week in neurosurgery; despite being scared witless, I braved the snow and London public transport to get to the Royal Free for 8.00 every morning of the week before Christmas. The sheer unpredictability thrilled me; one day I was quietly watching ward rounds and operations, the next getting stuck into helping out in a power cut that caused the failure of the entire hospital's computer system.
I am fascinated by Science; I have always felt a need to learn about how things work. Biology is my particular favourite, and cell biochemistry and anatomy particularly fascinate me. The sheer elegance of cell processes is always astounding to me, and the way in which something so small can create an entire system of tissues and organs to make up a complex individual is almost unbelievable.
I also like people. Human behaviour and Anthropology are also of great interest to me; The Human Animal by Desmond Morris remains one of my favourite books, as does The Well Dressed Ape by Hannah Holmes. However, to quote the orthopaedic surgeon I shadowed for a day last year: "Treat the patient, not the symptoms". I believe this is a very important ethic to have; it is essential to remember that a patient is a human being, not a collection of clinical symptoms.
I also found this was important in the neurosurgical ward; several patients were suffering from head injuries that made communication difficult for them. It would have been easy to ignore their needs and requests, but I saw that the doctors I was with acted with humanity and decency, and never reduced patients to a list of symptoms. I have experience of my own in this area, as in my holidays I help to care for my autistic younger sister, who has speech and communication difficulties. I found that my opinions and preconceptions about disability and illness were very much changed after her diagnosis, and it certainly removed any prejudices that I may have carried.
Another passion of mine is art. I love to work with my hands, and enjoy producing a finished piece of work from a lengthy process. I believe this to be a very relevant skill for a career in medicine; being able to work patiently at something without needing the instant gratification of a quick result is very important.
Anatomy often features in my work, and I find understanding the interlinked systems of the body deeply satisfying.
Looking at various methods of scanning the body in my weeks spent in obstetrics and neurosurgery appealed to me due to my love of physics. I found the ideas behind CAT, MRI, X-Ray and ultrasound scanning of great interest. In particular, the use of MRI scanning to pinpoint the exact location of a possible tumour in a brain biopsy was fascinating.
Out of the classroom, I am secretary of Science Forum, which I hope will help me to advance my knowledge of the contemporary scientific world, by giving me a chance to talk to a wide range of outside speakers. It will also help me to share my enthusiasm for the subject with others, which I feel is very important.
I am also a regular attendee of Medical Society, which helps keep me up to date with medical issues. I enjoy being part of the Combined Cadet Force; it gives me an opportunity to develop my teamworking and leadership skills further, and I currently hold the rank of Lance Corporal. The same could be said of my experience of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, of which I have completed Bronze, and am in the process of handing in my Silver Award and continuing with Gold. I am on the swim team, and enjoy running and playing the drums recreationally.
I was quite pleased with this, once I finally finished it! I found that I spent a lot more time thinking about it and researching it than actually writing; once started, it took me about half an hour after 2 weeks of deliberation.