March 11, 2014, by WAMS President
Welcome to Med School Life!
Welcome to ‘Med School Life’! My name is Rob and I’m a fourth-year medical student here at the University of Nottingham. I am also the president of our Widening Access Society. We are a group of students from all year groups studying medicine at Nottingham who are passionate about Widening Participation in Medicine.
Over the next few weeks, our team of bloggers will give you an insight into what it’s like to be a medical student, in both the early years and then the clinical part of the course. We will also be blogging about our extra-curricular activities, money and travel opportunities to give you a real taste of what it’s like to be a medical student.
As I said in my original statement, as a group we are passionate about Widening Participation – WP for short – but what does this actually mean? WP is all about helping people from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’ into medicine. This covers people from a wide range of backgrounds however—people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, those who are the first in their family to go to university, those from schools without a history of sending people to university, those who have been in care—the list goes on and on.
Why should we care about Widening Participation?
You might now be wondering why this is such an important thing. When I was thinking about this earlier, the answer hit me quite unexpectedly. I’m currently on an Obstetrics and Gynaecology placement in Mansfield. And the pregnant ladies who were in the labour ward were from all backgrounds, varying from a doctor, to an unemployed 20-year-old girl. As future doctors we are lucky enough to have an insight into people’s lives at a level that perhaps nobody else gets. Whether it be being present at the birth of a child, all the way to managing end of life issues in palliative care. In order to be the best team of healthcare professionals we can, we need to empathise with these people at a level that only a diverse team can.
Widening participation in medicine is about making our work force of doctors truly representative of the diversity of our patients. This doesn’t mean giving priority to students from WP backgrounds, but instead trying to level out the inequalities that differences in opportunities cause, to ultimately try and give a more diverse workforce. Surely that can only be a good thing?
“Widening participation in medicine is about making our work force of doctors truly representative of the diversity of our patients”