Personal Favourites

Thought it might be useful to make a post about my favourite parts about being a Dundee Medical Student. I’ve spoken a bit about the course in general before, but here’s my opinions on the best parts of the Dundee course:

Network of people
Dundee Medical school is a really close-knit group. From personal experience, I can say that you will make friends with people in your small group (e.g. A1), your big group (e.g. A) and the entire year group altogether with ease. I can also say that it’s not just limited to people in your year. I have friends now ranging from Year 2 to Year 5, and the only reason I amn’t friends with some people in 1st year yet is because they don’t start uni until September (I am writing this in August)! I think this is mainly because Ninewells is about a 40 minute walk (5-10 min car ride) from campus and so, the medical school is a little bit segregated from the rest of the uni. However, this means you see the same people day in, day out and get to make a good bunch of friends, which I think is kind of a good thing.

Aside from all this, everyone in general is pretty down to earth. I could have corridor chats with almost everyone in the medical school, despite how well I know them, so everyone is pretty friendly. The lecturers are really friendly as well, and, something else I’ve noticed is, they value your feedback. If something in the course is crap, and you tell them a way that they could possibly improve it, they’ll give it a go! Recently there’s been some criticism of the host site for dundee uni by lecturers and students alike, and so now, they’re developing blogs much like this one with lecture notes and teaching vodcasts etc to try and remedy this.

Small city
Dundee is a pretty small city. But, for me, that was great. I come from a small town outside of Glasgow, and I felt that if I had gone to glasgow, despite knowing it a bit already, I’d probably end up lost, in some bad end of town and get myself in trouble. In dundee, that probably won’t happen. You’ll get to know a few areas really well, and the clubs in general are pretty safe. Plus, two of the clubs people go to most often are right next to the police station, and police tend to patrol outside on friday and saturday nights to make sure everythings ok.

Patient Journey
Click the Patient Journey tag in the tag cloud for more information about this one, as I’ve spoken about this before

Course structure
There’s a bit of everything in the course – lectures, some group work, some clinical teaching. What else could you want? It suits all learning styles and getting similar things taught in different ways only helps reinforce the teaching.

As I think I’ve said before, I think this is an essential piece of learning to any doctor. After all, it’s the body we’re treating at the end of the day, so it only makes sense that we know it inside out, literally. With prosections, you can only look at something and sometimes, not even touch the specimens to help get your bearings, figure out how different veins, arteries and nerves all relate to one another or to different organs etc. I felt I really benefitted from getting given time to discover the human body for myself and figure out what structures are what as part of a group.

The anatomy teaching is really top class as well. They make sure you know your stuff all right!

To highlight a popint I was speaking to the head of the anatomy department on the lead up to applying for the anatomy BMSc and he told a story of how whenever he visits his GP, he gives him an anatomy tutorial and tests his knowledge on anatomy in general! It is his belief that every doctor should understand the anatomy as much as he, the head of the anatomy department, does, if not, more so! This is a view I share.

Dissection Experiences
I’m going to be careful about how much I say here, as obviously talking about cadavers in the public domain can be a bit of a difficult area, and so I’ll say enough here to make a point and no more to save anything I say here coming back to bite me in the ass a few years down the line. Everything I say here is completely positive, and hopefully it shows here how much I really do value the opportunity for dissection we have at Dundee.

Our cadaver is very interesting in that, during life, they had a pacemaker inserted and had undergone surgery for a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) from their internal thoracic artery to his left coronary artery. Not only was I able to appreciate just how much scarring can occur in following cardiac surgery, first hand (the cadaver’s heart had almost completely adhered to the back of his sternum), but we could also investigate where their pacemaker tracked to reach his heart and then where within the heart the pacemaker stimulated. I can honestly say I had basically no idea how they inserted a pacemaker before this week, but now I’ll never forget it!

You can’t teach that in prosections!

While I was applying to medicine, our year was the first year to witness the infamous MMIs used at Dundee now. I have to say, far from scaring me, I thought it was really interesting and was actually a reason why I wanted to come to Dundee – they were clearly trying to push the boundaries of education, and that was something I wanted to (and now have) become a part of.


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