Shadowing a DoctorMarch 28, 2012
Bristol Medical School is comprised of three schools within the faculty which are spread across the campus of Bristol University. The medical school welcomes students from diverse backgrounds and is active in exchange programs with other well-respected schools in Europe and further afield. The Erasmus program asks that students have certain competencies, in English and clinical practice, but otherwise students can apply from anywhere in the world. This of course gives students who have been studying at Bristol and opportunity to exchange into a number of medical schools abroad; this opportunity is open to them after completion of the fourth year and the achievement of a high level of clinical competence.
It is not always usual, but the medical degree course as followed at Bristol University has an early patient integration policy. Students in the first two years of pre-clinical teaching will not only have theoretical lectures but will also have practical, hands on experience with real patients in a real clinical environment. Using strong links with the local NHS trusts, the university has established clinical academies outside the university setting, both within the city itself and also in the immediate area. When working in one of these academies, which range between hospitals in the centre of the city to those in quite outlying semi-rural areas, the student is given free accommodation by the employing academy. This is a real chance to have hands on experience at an early stage in training.
After the first two years of pre-clinical studying, a student studying medicine at Bristol University will be spending as much as half of their time outside the lecture environment in the academies. This means that medical students will train alongside other professionals in the health sector, giving doctors trained at Bristol a unique insight into the practices and clinical requirements of other specialties.
The usual training is also given, of course, with cadaveric specimens used in all disciplines as training aids, although dissection is not mandatory. The medical student at Bristol will be taught very holistically, with the care of the patient always at the forefront of the process.
Bristol University itself was founded in 1876 and was always – as it is now – at the forefront of academic excellence. It was the first university in the country to have places open to as many women as men and is still the first choice of a large number of students of high academic standing. The city of Bristol is well-placed to welcome students from any part of the country without them being cut off from family and friends by long journeys home; a very important part of any student’s considerations when choosing further education. This is particularly important to the medical student who, after the first pre-clinical years, will be working long hours with their consultant firms and will be unable to take long stretches of time off to embark on travel. Bristol, with its excellent rail, road and air links makes trips home easy and stress free. Add to this a bustling and vibrant city and it is clear that Bristol medical school is an excellent choice for the potential medical student.