November 13, 2018, by studentcontributor

Graduate entry medicine – realising a childhood dream

For me, medicine was a childhood dream, one that I had thought would remain a dream until two years ago when a chance bout of chicken pox and pneumonia meant I had a day’s stay at the Royal Derby and drove around the hospital on discharge, stumbling upon the medical school and found out about an Open Day for the graduate entry medicine (GEM) course a week later.

Nearly two years later and to the day – GAMSAT, work experience and interviews in between – I received a phone call with my offer. Coming off the waitlist into GEM meant that I had just three weeks between getting my offer, resigning from a job of nine years at Rolls-Royce and starting on the course!

GEM is intense! The last couple of months have certainly flown by very quickly. I thought I had quite an intense job, working 50-60 hour weeks and consistently on airplanes crisscrossing the continents but GEM is equally if not more exhilarating and exciting.

I think that the course itself is crafted very intelligently. It revolves around Problem Based Learning (PBL) with sessions on Tuesday and Friday. You are put in a PBL group of eight students with whom you work collaboratively to learn together by teaching each other. There are lectures on Monday that are usually related to the learning outcomes for the PBL case for the week. The first PBL session is followed by workshops in the Anatomy Suite on Wednesday that reinforce the learning through seeing, touching and observing which also require a lot of pre-work beforehand. However, this means that by mid-week you could have already covered a learning topic in at least three different ways/sessions. The calendar week usually finishes on a Friday with a Clinical Skills session where all of this theoretical knowledge is then translated into skills that we will take into practice. At this point, one is also very much ready for the weekend!

What makes GEM very interesting is the myriad of people you will meet from a variety of different backgrounds and age groups which means that everybody fits in and nothing is out of the ordinary! We have environmentalists, historians, engineers, wildlife conservationists, literary buffs along with the expected dollop of nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics and recent biological sciences or other non-science graduates.

We’ve just had our first set of exams and whilst they were extremely challenging, it was also great to be encouraged by how much we have learnt since we started and are increasingly feeling part of the medical community.

Bring on the next four years!

Contributor: John Sujith, first-year GEM student and former Head of Sales and Contracting at Rolls-Royce

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