Elin Rowlands

Year 4 in 2017

Fourth year is one of the most challenging, yet exciting years at Keele. With final examinations at the end of the year and the reality of becoming a doctor beginning to sink in, the pressure to consolidate your knowledge becomes increasingly intense.

In my fourth year, I was based at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. Working in a District General hospital was very different from working in a Major Trauma Centre like the Royal Stoke University Hospital. Although District General hospitals are possibly not as busy, more emphasis is placed on you as a member of the clinical team, and there is greater potential for clinical exposure.

Many new specialties, such as women’s health, are introduced in fourth year, and throughout the year we gained a variety of new experiences including completing night shifts on a labour ward, assisting in orthopaedic surgery, and holding your own General Practice clinics. Away from the wards, highly experienced consultants and general practitioners guide us through Case Illustrated Learning (CIL) sessions, where we discuss cases that we had seen during the week.

After exams, you have the opportunity to spend four weeks completing the Student Selected Component. This opportunity allows you to explore in depth a specialty that you particularly enjoy and would consider as a future career. I decided to study Radiology and gained valuable experience that I would not have otherwise had.

In addition to studying Medicine, I enjoyed playing hockey for the Keele University Women’s Team, the highlight being the annual hockey tour. When not studying or playing hockey, I enjoy socialising at the Students’ Union with friends. Medicine can be tough, with the constant need to revise for examinations and to manage additional coursework pressures and deadlines. I found that having interests outside medicine is as important as studying to ensure a successful, balanced and healthy lifestyle.

The significant amount of time spent in the clinical environment at Keele is key to preparing us as effective future clinicians. As the intake is slightly smaller at Keele compared to other universities, we are able to get to know the whole year group and staff very well. This helps to provide a particularly friendly and supportive working environment. Fourth year is as exciting as it is daunting—and is certainly worth all the hard work!