Medicine Personal Statement
Medicine is a profession that is unparalleled in its impact on people. My first exposure to medicine came from observing my grandmother practising medicine, who inspired me with her dedication to her duties in this vocation. However I am also aware of the conflicting demands, the responsibility of doctors and the commitment required to hone the necessary skills. This is why my decision to pursue medicine has been informed over many years.
I learned how non verbal communication is vital in medicine on my work experience in general surgery. A core component of obtaining a patient history involves first listening to the symptoms and empathising, in order to make a management plan. Occasionally patients came into the clinic visibly distressed. I observed that simply being listened to by their doctor, helped to reassure them. I witnessed a senior clinician breaking bad news to an elderly patient, whose diagnosis was rectal cancer. The clinician was open and honest, whilst being professional and compassionate. The patient also suffered from multiple sclerosis, which made the doctor consider the impact on his quality of life, and whether treatment was right for him. This balanced his best interests with respecting his autonomy. I learned that empathetic communication is vital to building a compassionate doctor-patient relationship and to delivering patient centred care.
Volunteering in a care home, allowed me to appreciate the challenges faced by the elderly in society. One issue is loneliness, which can cause residents difficulty in carrying out daily activities. My time with the residents has been enjoyable and has made me reflect on the larger role the community can play in caring for these individuals. During this experience, I developed my active listening skills by maintaining eye contact, having an open body language when hearing their stories.
On my work experience I observed a laparoscopic hysterectomy. Witnessing a skilful team of healthcare professionals working together, allowed me to appreciate teamwork in medicine. In surgery, patient safety is normally maintained by effective communication and the use of checklists. Unfortunately in this situation there was a complication and I was surprised by the calm and efficient manner in which he directed the team. Teamwork is an important skill I had to utilise in my own life, such as on my NCS program. My group was tasked with organising an activity day, which involved delegating tasks and cooperating with my peers. I used what I had learned from the effective multi disciplinary team in theatre. I also developed similar skills while being a student ambassador for my medics society for my year group. This role has enabled me to present and debate current medical issues and expand on my own and others knowledge on the NHS and the challenges that come with running it.
Another work experience placement allowed me to understand the use of a clinical audit and the importance of quality improvement. I helped to collect data for an audit on readmission rates after hysterectomy. The audit demonstrated issues with incorrect coding, preventable causes of readmission and a lack of preoperative information to patients. This audit helped me to understand the wider scope of patient care and the importance of hospitals meeting a required standard to improve the daily care quality to patients. I learnt the skill of data collection which is vital in medical research to make informed decisions.
Due to the stressful nature of practising medicine, the need for a work-life balance is vital in maintaining positive mental health. Playing guitar relieves my stress.
Whilst pursuing a career in medicine, I have developed multiple transferrable skills. These have made me into a more well rounded person. Reflecting on my work experiences has convinced me to pursue medicine as my vocation. The opportunity it provides to help others in an impactful way is incomparable to any other profession.