CJ Littlejohns Medical Prize 2016
Read more about the winner of this year's prize and his reasons for wanting to study Medicine
I have just started studying medicine at the University of Cardiff.
My deep rooted interest in science and my passion to help and care for other people makes me feel that Medicine is the perfect career for me.
To gain a wider understanding, as a pupil I shadowed consultants, medical students and junior doctors on a paediatric ward, enabling me to see the similarities and differences within the career. The experience was even more unique as during the placement my sister was admitted to the ward. I observed the importance of teamwork and effective communication between different healthcare professionals, which are vital to support the best interests of the patients. I witnessed doctors changing their style of communication whether it be an infant in pain or an anxious parent, as well as treating their patients with integrity, dedication and care. The fulfilment and satisfaction they got in return is something I feel no other profession can offer. Whilst the work experience proved physically and emotionally challenging it only strengthened my decision to study Medicine.
Volunteering weekly at a nursing home specialising in dementia care provided a rewarding and valuable experience to see a more challenging side of Medicine. It allowed me to witness first-hand some of the problems a doctor may face when dealing with ill or dying patients. Despite this, it has been the most useful and worthwhile experience I have had, vastly developing my communication skills through interacting with the residents and staff. I have enjoyed this experience, and it gives me great satisfaction to see the happiness the residents receive just from having a friendly face to talk to.
Within my school community I tookmany active roles, such as Pupil Governor and Year Representative. I also assisted in the STF, aiding students with learning difficulties especially during their science lessons. As part of the HE+ scheme run by Cambridge University, we looked at various aspects of medical sciences, beyond the A Level curriculum, such as genetics, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, presentations given at a medical career conference at Cardiff Medicentre gave me a fascinating insight into the different specialties. Working part-time in a local dining pub strengthens many transferable skills such as teamwork, communication, good time management and working calmly under pressure. Remaining composed in the stressful kitchen environment and efficiently dealing with the public are vital in my employment, and also in a medical career.
I understand that Medicine is not as glamorous as it is often perceived and can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. However, I want a stimulating career which involves lifelong learning. After speaking to many doctors during my work experience and on a personal level, it is clear that Medicine, whilst a tough career, is extremely rewarding and gratifying, and it would be a privilege to take on the challenge of a lifetime.