Last week, myself and a few other lads in TY attended the Royal College of Surgeons mini-med programme virtually. The purpose of this course was to give us a brief insight as to what medicine, pharmacy and physiotherapy are like, and what careers would be like in each of the professions. The programme would turn out to be a major success with all students being exposed to wonderful things they’d probably never dreamt of seeing before the course. The week started on the topic of medicine, and many guest speakers joined the zoom call to tell us a little bit about a career in medicine and the pros and cons of studying medicine. The highlight of the week was definitely viewing real life surgeries taking place live. Early in the week, we watched Dr. Arnold Hill remove a women’s gallbladder. The patient had been suffering from stomach pains and it was discovered that she had stones in her gallbladder. It was fascinating to see the surgeon remove it and the things he did to do so. He ended up putting a paper bag into the woman’s inside and managed to remove her gallbladder and put it into the bag. He then proceeded to poke his finger through the patient's belly button and pull the bag out. We would have never imagined that that’s how surgeons remove gallbladders so it was fascinating to see it being done.
We also got to speak to and ask questions to current RCSI students about what life is like as an RCSI student and how challenging the courses are. The students we met gave us great insights as to what they do on a daily basis and gave us advice on picking leaving cert subjects. Thursday was pharmacy day, so we got to meet community, industry and hospital pharmacists. They explained to us what they do and what makes their job interesting. They told us about how important it is that they read the labels on the medicines correctly, or there could be a terrible outcome for the patient. However, they did reveal to us that sometimes their hours are inconvenient, as it’s important pharmacies stay open for most of the day. We lastly did the physiotherapy part of the programme. This was very useful for sports players as it was discussed in great detail how to treat and prevent common, annoying injuries. We gained plenty of knowledge on how to reduce the number of hamstring injuries we get. A large part of the physiotherapy section, was them trying to drive the point home that exercise is the best pill you can take and it has endless physical and mental benefits. We also touched on nutrition and how to eat more healthily while maintaining a reasonably balanced diet. We then got an insight into the life of a physiotherapist, and what type of people would be interested in a career in physiotherapy. We were lastly presented with a slideshow on balance. This covered all things from working on improving our balance to explaining why people tend to lose their balance as they age. All in all, it was a brilliant week and we learned so much about such a broad range of topics. Viewing the live surgeries and a woman giving birth live, was definitely the highlight of the week but most aspects of the course didn’t fail to amaze me. I’d recommend that future transition year pupils do this course, as they’d get to meet the people in person and I’d imagine their experience would be a lot more interactive in a covid free world.
By Jack Campbell (TY Student)