[F]ive future doctors from Barrow Sixth Form College got a taste of life as a medical student when they visited Lancaster University.
Tara Waller, Sophia Tentativa, Violet Musgrave, Jacob McSweeney and Emily Macdonald, who are all first-year A level students at the Rating Lane campus, tested their anatomy knowledge, practised their clinical skills and enjoyed a problem-based learning session where they worked in groups.
They also heard first-hand about life as a junior doctor from Hannah Kolbe, who did her A levels at Barrow Sixth Form, and is now working at Furness General Hospital after studying at Lancaster. The university partners with sixth form for the Honours programme, which helps academically very able students to specialise in their favourite subjects with expert mentoring and get a head start at university.
Careers advisor Samantha Roberts, who leads the college medical applicant programme, said the students are all considering applying to studying medical degrees and had enjoyed a real insight into the career path of a medic.
“This experience helps students understand what they need to do to become a doctor and what the work involves in a hospital or a GP-based setting. They combined practical activities such as taking blood pressure and pulse with the chance to quiz medical students.
“All the students said the day was really interesting and they learnt at great deal. It was also wonderful to see how former student Hannah is progressing so successfully in her career,” she said.
Since September, the college has run a specialist programme to support university applications into highly-competitive medical degree courses. Sam has been working with students in Year 10 and Year 11 in the local schools to encourage those that are keen on this career path to pursue it with help from the programme.
Head of Sixth Form Jeff Chadd said: “In the past two years, four of our students have secured places at medical school but we know there are more students who have the skills to reach their goals and this programme will give them the confidence to succeed.”
The programme, which is backed by Lead GP for Furness Geoff Jolliffe, identifies students who are considering applying for medical school or have the potential to consider this career and support them through the often complicated enrolment process. Dr Jolliffe said: “There is a shortage of people wanting to join the medical profession in this area yet we know that those who come don’t want to leave. Key to increasing our chances of filling these vacancies is to grow our own, from people who already know and love the area. The more we can do this, the more our medical services will thrive, and in turn that will enhance further recruitment.’’
Second-year students Brad Hayton-Mulvey from Barrow Sixth Form and Chetwynde student Jannah Holmes, who have applied for medical degree places, also interviewed Tom Jamieson, of Kendal, at the Rating Lane campus last week. He is now training to be a GP and gave them advice about what medical schools are looking for from their applicants as well as sharing his own experiences of being a medical student and a junior doctor.