Issue 2 March 2013
Sports Intervarsities for Medical Schools
Congratulations to the NUIG Intervarsities team, which travelled to Limerick to compete in the 2013 Medical Intervarsities held in University of Limerick on the 9th of March. The team included Gary Ryan, Shane Russell, Dave Lehane, Lakshan Senanayake, Colm Neary, Padraig Synnott, Eoin Fahey, Rachel Wallace, Caitriona Quigley, Jenny Hayden, Heather Carey, Pa Carey, eara and Siobhan Pennycook. Aine O M NUIG came an outstanding third in the tag rugby, fourth in the 5km race and of course, first in ‘having the craic’. Other competing schools included UL, UCD, UCC, RCSI, TCD, and QUB. T AG R u gby MedSoc's first ever interclass tag rugby league has gotten off to a g reat start, with matches taking place every Wednesday on the President's Lawn. Monday, 8th April will see the mighty Fourth Meds take on the First Meds. All welcome to come along and show their support.
T ED ME D TALKS ARE COMING TO NUI GALWAY!
ST A FF P R O F I LE S DR. BRIAN STEWART, DR. SEAN DINNEEN, PROFESSOR COLM MCDONALD!
L IF E IN T H E AC AD AM IE S CASTLEBAR, SLIGO AND LETTERKENNY!
SE V EN T IP S TO R E SE AR CH
H E AV EN ! !
Medsoc AGM will be held in the on
Wednesday, 27th March. A new committee will be voted on for the year 2013/2014. Full details on our Facebook Page and in your email inbox soon.
M ED IC IN E VS SU R G ER Y !
What is TEDMED?
What is TEDMED Live - NUIG?
TEDMED is a multi-disciplinary community of innovators and leaders, sharing a common determination to create a better future in health and medicine.
NUIG School of Medicine and MedSoc have teamed up to bring this exciting conference to doing so, we hope to inspire our doorstep! In and fuel the minds of NUIG students, some of who will hopefully take the TEDMED stage one Once a year at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, TEDMED day! curates an unusual and on April 19th 2013, with a provocative program on the Opera The event will run live stream from TEDMED Washington. In House stage. The program features brilliant short talks addition, the TEDMED 20 great challenges in and stunning artistic medicine and health care will be discussed by performances. various experts across varied fields. The topics The program recharges brains and are available on TEDMED website. jumpstarts new thinking. 1,800 We will have experts speaking in TEDMED leading figures from across society form the delegation. style on these topics and these talks will sent into TEDMED, and TEDMED believes that the future subsequently be of around the world! health and medicine will be The best talks sent in will be shaped by vital input from invited to speak in 2014 at the next TEDMED in leading medical colleges, the U S! teaching hospitals, government agencies, and non-profit institutions around the world. And so, in a spirit of collaboration and information sharing, the entire TEDMED event is broadcast free to these institutions thanks to the generous support from their
TEDMED fosters a culture of collaborative thinking and learning! We hope this, our first in NUIG will develop a similar TEDMED live talk culture amongst ourselves and our peers.
Stay tuned for the release of local speakers as well as the international speakers! Registration will start soon! Book the afternoon of April 19th 2013 off!
www.tedmed.com for more information about TEDMED and join t he
for all the updates!
Follow us @TEDMEDLiveNUIG on
group for TEDMED Live -‐ NUIG
NUIG WIN THE COLLEGE OF PSYCHIATRY OF IRELAND’s
“SPIKE MILLIGAN” PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION!!
The emails calling for a team for the Spike Milligan Psychiatry Public Speaking Competition went out weeks in advance of show-‐time on the 6th of March! Our first meeting was exactly one month to D-‐day and we nervously gathered to read our speeches before a final team was selected. With the motion, ‘Online or out of touch -‐ Mental Health Services for Generation Y’ before us we started brain-‐storming from day 1. Ideas flowed and things moved quickly. The meetings involved Skype calls to speaker Fiona Nolan in the hills of Donegal, as ideas bounced between John Campion, Marion Hanely, Maria Duignan and Sarah Cormican in the meeting rooms of Galway’s Clinical Sciences Institute. Dr. Walsh’s voice rose an octave when we were onto something good and the cool, calm and collected Dr. Byrne oversaw it all! Suddenly, it two days before the big trip to Dublin, and Fiona and John were having long skype conversions and the finishing touches were running well into the early hours! Professor McDonald was being hounded for transport expenses and the pom-‐poms were
ere being rooted out as NUIG spirit
kicked into motion! Then finally -‐ it was confirmed – we were all going!
The MC introduced each of the acts and we waited for our duo. The teams were picked and third to go -‐ John and Fiona stepped onto the stage. We roared from our seats and each supporter held up a letter of the banner. Everyone in the room was impressed. We were proud!
It was 1.30 on the day of the competition – but wait! Something was missing! A Banner? And so the poster printing began! SPIKE GOING WESHT – we might as well be proud of the country accents! All aboard the Gobus and set to go. Ann Spellman kept Kevin Dunne and Colm Harrington busy with the latest “Woman’s Now” magazines, they swapped make-‐up tips and recounted dramatic hair dilemmas! Yay! We’re in Dublin. Now where is the Sugar Club?? It’s ok everybody remain calm.. We have all we need.. Siobhan Mc Cormack!! She had printed off directions to the Sugar Club, almost one for everybody in the audience.
Fiona and John outlined to us all what exactly it was to be a part of Generation Y and from smartphones to condoms and vodka – we were suitably shocked! We laughed and we learned as they spoke and as the bell signalling time KEPT ringing we crossed our fingers hoping they wouldn’t be kicked off the stage! At the interval we headed for the bar! Four more pairs spoke each for ten minutes, with a very impressive argument and a few good belly laughs from RSCI! The three Judges went out to deliberate and we played “Countdown” with our banner as Colm made new words from the letters -‐ ‘Shite spoken gig’ -‐ we got a round of applause.
After a coffee stop and a trip to the Disney store, and we had arrived! There was a large, dimly lit room with steeped red couches, round tables -‐ and a stage! It had the feel of an old cinema and there was a lingering air of anticipation. The Oh God, now was the time – the supporters from NUIG’s Sligo and winners were being announced! Letterkenny academies joined us, …..”Runners up – RSCI” a round of making a group of 15 supporters, the
4 applause and we were on the edges of our seats... until finally for our “chemistry and support” NUIG were the winners!!! We jumped and shouted and cheered! Dr. Walsh and Dr. Byrne more than most and John and Fiona thanked their fellow competitors and their supporters! The free food and drink flowed for it. A few headed off back to Galway and some of us ‘missed the bus’. It was a night out in Dublin! We headed off Dawson street where we hit club 37.
There was a round of shots awaiting us and Dr. Walsh handled hers coolly, while Dr. Byrne wasn’t even fazed by his. The night wore on with more champagne and banter! We stayed in a rented apartment for the night, thanks to the generosity of our Department of Psychiatry, and the party continued only to end by being woken up to a horribly familiar alarm the next morning!
We were brought to our senses with the reality of work, presentations and college but not without Spike.... WE WERE BRINGING HIM WESHT!!!
Marion Hanley 4MB
LESSONS FROM A NTIMIC ROBIA L
A WA RNESS WEEK ! P ishoy
G ouda 3MB
“4 things to remember about Antibiotics and Antibiotics Resistance’ A local be summed up in four points. microbiology professor once told our class that his entire lecture can (Probably because didn’t think we could r emember a ny m ore t han t hat!) I t hink we can do the same with the i ssues revolving antimicrobial resistance. Doctors are part of the problem! Many physicians over prescribe antibiotics 1. for several reasons. Primarily, it is due to the expectations of patients to receive a prescription when they are sick. Alternatively, it may be to reduce the risk of future litigation or due to uncertainty. Many countries have begun to introduce prescribing guidelines to help curb this overprescribing trend. 2. Taking antibiotics can hurt other people. This is usually one of the t oughest concepts for patients to understand. B y u nnecessarily t aking antibiotics, they effectively create an environment where resistant organisms can grow easily by killing their natural bacterial flora. Although, these organisms may not affect them, they might be harmful to others that come into contact with them. 3. We are running out of options! F or far too long we thought we could create antibiotics faster than resistance can make them obsolete. This is evidently false with the rising incidence of multi-‐drug resistant organisms and even total-‐drug resistant organisms. We now know that one mutation can result in an organism becoming resistant to an entire class of antibiotics, due to similar mechanisms of actions. can reduce the prevalence of 4. Is there any point? Yes! Many studies have shown that interventions resistance. Everyone has a role to play in preventing the propagation of antimicrobial resistance. By
maintaining high standards of hand hygiene, implementing active surveillance, taking contact precautions and investing in antibiotic stewardship programs we can minimise the mortality and morbidity associated with antimicrobial resistance!
Dr. Brian Stewart, Lecturer in Medicine
CA M E RA S H Y!
Favourite place/book/movie Place: Very things from them that are not necessarily hard to choose, lots of great related to medicine. places in Ireland and have been lucky enough to see a good bit of the If y ou h adn’t chosen the career path you have, w hat else might you have liked to world. Would have to say Lyon. Seems like do? S cience or something sports related. such a nice city to live in. Book: 1984.Movie: Mean Girls...no one Most influential person to you? Dr Phil reads this right? McGraw. His wisdom amazes me to this day. Favourite aspect of being a doctor The
all of a sudden. Sure do. Great times... errrm all that studying and attending every lecture and not going out. Yeah, that’s what happened alright. Seriously though, made some great friends and some great laughs were had. Say no more!
social aspect of it all. You get the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and can learn a lot of important
3 words to describe your professional attitude: Positivity,
Do you remember being a Student Doctor?! Thanks for making me feel old
Professor Colm McDonald , Professor of Psychiatry Favourite place/book/movie: Tough one -‐ I’ll give a couple for each. Nature’s Valley South Africa, Knockalla Beach Donegal/Birdsong, In the Beauty of the Lillies/Pulp Fiction, Fargo
If you hadn’t chosen the career path you have, what else might you have liked to do? Within medicine -‐ophthalmology. Outside it, and if I had more talent…architecture, physics.
Favourite aspect of being a doctor: Doing something real, and inherently valuable in itself, that you can also make a living out of. Privileged in depth engagement with people to help in their struggle with illness.
Most influential person to you? Robin Murray, Institute of Psychiatry – inspirational leader, true scientist who enthusiastically abandons even cherished models when faced with opposing data; Brother Kingston in secondary school for teaching us how to think.
Do you remember being a Student Doctor?! Certainly do, I remember in the clinical years starting off firmly at the bottom of the ward hierarchy and feeling in the way …..but simultaneously privileged to be at the clinical interface, excited by the expanse of future options that appeared open ahead. 3 words to describe your professional attitude: Engaging, patience, empathically
Dr. Sean Dinneen , Consultant Endocrinologist Favourite place/book/movie: I have recently discovered the writings of Haruki Murakami, a Japanese novelist. “Norwegian Wood” and “What I talk about when I talk about running” are worth checking out. Favourite aspect of being a doctor: Helping people to achieve their personal
goals while living with a chronic disease If you hadn’t chosen the career path you have, what else might you have liked to
do? If I had not studied Medicine I would love to have joined the Diplomatic Corps and become an Ambassador for Ireland in a foreign land.
3 words to describe your professional attitude:
Most influential person to you? Jean Phillipe Assal, a Swiss educationalist and medical doctor. He developed the approach to chronic disease management called Therapeutic Patient Education.
Do you remember being a Student Doctor?! I still consider myself to be a student doctor!
(How) can I help (you)?
MANY THANKS TO ALL INVOLVED
FIRS T STUDENTS OF “TRAV EL MED IC INE” IN NUIG 6 Second year students at NUI Galway are the first medical students in Ireland to learn about the exciting and dynamic specialty of Travel Medicine, with the introduction of a new special study module in Travel Medicine Research. Eleven students, working under the supervision of Dr. Gerard Flaherty, are attending clinics at the Tropical Medical Bureau and collaborating on designing an airport survey which will be administered to travellers passing through Dublin airport by 5 of the students, as part of a funded summer research project. Dr. Flaherty, current President of the Travel Medicine Society of Ireland, has recently introduced a student category of membership of the society. Doctor/Nurse members normally pay €60 as an annual subscription but the student rate will be only €15. For this, student members will be invited to attend 4 regional educational seminars in Travel Medicine each year, receive 4 copies of the society's newsletter with articles and reports on many travel-‐related health risks, and be kept informed of global disease outbreaks through an email alert system. This is open to all medical students in Ireland. If you have an interest in Travel or Tropical Medicine, Public Health, Infectious Diseases or Occupational Medicine and wish to join, please email the society's secretary, Anne Redmond, at email@example.com or contact Dr. Flaherty for more details on firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cia ra n T oo m ey M e mo ri al T ou r nam e nt wo n by 3M B !
The Radisson yet again played host to what turned out to be the biggest Medball to date! The sell out event featured m usic from local choir 'Coole Harmonies', Limerick band Hermitage Green and DJ Byrno with Buck Taylor on hand in college bar to soothe any sore heads the following afternoon. Guests were transported to the North Pole upon entering the ballroom which wouldn't have been complete without a visit from the big man himself. Accompanied by two helpers, Santa posed for photos and gave out sweets to those lucky enough to m ake the 'nice list'. Anyone who missed that photo opportunity was surely captured in the photo booth which made a return appearance this year due to popular demand. The m adness carried onto college bar the next day where research into the myth of the 'hair of the dog' was very scientifically conducted. Finishing up in Carbon nightclub the weekends remaining brave soldiers were rewarded with plenty of drinks promotions. Another year, another Medball over but this was one that certainly won't be forgotten! Gardai are seeking any information on the whereabouts of a missing reindeer leg #fixfionafawn
“Do you know what you want to specialise 7 in yet?”
This is the question that has plagued medical students from the first day of med school. Every relative, teacher and friend seems interested in our choices, however many of them are disappointed when all we can tell them is that we have no idea! Finding something that you are passionate about it is difficult enough, but then you have to think about the entrance requirements, training positions available and lifestyle associated with your choice. Frankly, this can be a little overwhelming at first. Medsoc’s Specialty Night gave us the opportunity to begin exploring our options and asking questions.
We heard from a wide variety of speakers about the joys of not having a bleep in general practice as well the challenges of a career in surgery. Even if by the end of the night if you weren’t sure about whether you wanted to be rockstar surgeon or a geeky medic, the take home message was pretty clear. Find something you are passionate about, and p ursue it! The entire event can be found recorded on blackboard. Also, a special thank you to all our speakers who took time out of their schedules to support this event; Dr. Sean Dinnenn, Dr. Shane McInerney, Dr. Ailish Loftus, Dr. Claire Gaffney, Dr. M arie Rochford, Dr. Sexton and Prof. Michael Kerin.
Pishoy Gouda 3MB
MEDICINE VS SURGERY
Medicine allows you to get to know your patients over time
Surgery can very rapidly improve a patient’s health A c areer in Medicine equals generally predictable hours with room for a personal life
Surgery is thrilling -‐ any bleep could mean repairing organs, saving or removing malignant growths limbs A c areer in Medicine means professional clothing! A c areer in Surgery means scrubs, glorious scrubs!
A FU L L H O US E F O R M E DSO C
SP E CI AL TI ES AN D CA R EE R S
N I GH T IN C SI
VISIT STUDENT B MJ FOR
INTERESTING CAREER ARTICLES
http:/ / stu dent.bm j.co m/ student/ careers-
8 On Saturday, 2nd March, MedSoc held their annual Gala Swing Ball in aid of VSA. The ball was attended by doctors and medical students, who enjoyed a delicious five course meal in the beautiful Hotel Meyrick. After attending swing dancing lessons with Galway Swing guests were able to dance the night away to the Black Magic Big Band. MedSoc would like to thank the many local businesses who donated so generously to the raffle: Ocean Fitness Gym, Salthill, Ard Bia Restaurant, Nimmos Pier, The House Hotel, Galway Lawn Tennis Club, Salthill, Lazlo Jewelers, Hartmanns of Galway, Fusion Hair & Beauty Salon, Barry’s Hair Studio, Ali’s Barber Shop, Doonbeg Golf Club, Bellissimo, Kilkenny Galway, Anthony Ryan’s homeware store, Maldron Hotel, Oranmore, Medical Society, NUIG, Matt O’ Flaherty’s Pharmacy, Galway, Galway Golf Club, Blackrock Salthill, KC Blakes, The Galway Races, The Scholar’s Rest, Newcastle Road, Galway, Eason, Galway, The Edge Barbers, Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway, Markree Castle Hotel, Sligo.
PHOTOS BY GALWAY PHOTOGRAPHER
PAUL O’ MAHONY ARE AVAILABLE TO VIEW ON FACEBOOK!
Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) is an acute general and maternity Hospital, which forms an integral part of the Health Service Executive North West Region. Besides NUIG, LGH is linked in with Letterkenny IT and the Royal College of surgeons as a teaching hospital. LGH employs over 1700 people and has about 360 beds. In terms of facilities all of the 4th year specialties are w ell catered for, the maternity unit is modern and busy with over 2000 births per year and in your four week rotation here you should get your fair share of deliveries signed off. The paediatric w ard is also busy with excellent teaching, you’ll certainly feel well prepared for your OSCE exams after your rotation here, furthermore, Donegal seems to provide some weird and wonderful rare diseases and syndromes to keep you studying your textbooks! The psychiatric unit is thoroughly modern and impressive having been opened in 2011 and a new 2 2 million euro Accident and Emergency department was o pened in 2012 w ith state o f the art facilities. However the gynaecology ward was shut down this year due to budget cuts and there are no ENT surgeries performed in Letterkenny. There is a canteen with reasonable lunches and dinners, and free tea and coffee facilities in the education centre. There are study rooms with wifi which are warm and quiet and open till ten at night, but the library hours are restricted to say the least, closed for lunchtime and finished for the d ay at half five with a small supply of essential textbooks. To be honest I am enjoying my hospital placement more here than I did in Galway, in terms of learning and hands-‐on experience it excels. Patients are very happy to chat with you and allow you to examine them, as they haven’t already been harassed by ten of your classmates! Another thing is avoiding the stress we students place on each other during exam time, for our OSCEs just passed at the beginning of March, the majority of us here in Letterkenny felt calm, confident and well prepared for whatever situations were to be thrown at us. One of the great things of being at an academy is the small number o f students, there are only five o f us per group, so there is lots o f patient contact and lots of small group tutorials. Another thing I’ve noticed is how welcoming the staff are, we medical students are still a novelty up here and nurses and doctors alike often go out of their way to assist you, be it finding an interesting patient or calling your mobile at midnight for an exciting delivery. Accommodation in Letterkenny is cheap and plentiful. The average rent per week is about 40 euro. The majority of us live in houses or apartments all w ithin around ten minutes w alk of the hospital. There is quite a good selection of houses in the area and if you have to drive parking is free. Just an aside you can’t get UPC up here so most of us have Sky TV. The translation for Letterkenny is “The hillside of the O’Cannons,” so be prepared for the many many hills in Letterkenny!! Letterkenny has a great nightlife; there are four nightclubs in the town and a good selection of pubs. There is also lots of shops for you to indulge in some retail therapy, a bowling alley, a golf club, an 8 screen cinema, tennis courts, swimming pools and lots of well priced gym facilities d otted around the town. There are plenty of outdoor activities to fill your weekends with, be it surfing in Bundoran or Fanad or hillwalking in Glenveagh National Park. Furthermore Donegal boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches and scenery in Ireland including the “Second most beautiful beach in the world,” at Knockalla and the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League. I suppose the downside of Letterkenny as an academy is its distance from Galway. At 156 miles in a car you’re looking at about three and a half hours at best. The Feda O’Donnell bus runs a good and dependable service but is pricey at €30 return and takes about four and half hours. There is no train service to speak of in Donegal, and transport links around the county are poor to say the least, for your GP rotation it would be ideal if you had a car as you can be sent as far north as Malin head if you’re unlucky! If you have exams in Galway you really have to go down the day before and stay in a B and B or w ith friends. I have to say I am enjoying my time here in Letterkenny, it’s an interesting place and I’m perfecting my Donegal accent as the days go by. The standard of teaching is on par with Galway and overall it has been a positive experience. I also think it’s good to gain experience in a regional hospital, as many of us will end up working in such an environment in the future.
Mayo general hospital is a 332 bed hospital located in the sprawling mass that is C-‐bar (Castlebar). The hospital is very bright and modern. Upon arrival a common acknowledgement amongst the student was the friendliness of the staff and patients towards the students in the hospital. So far we have received a great welcome and everybody has been so nice. The hospital canteen serves dinners everyday for around 4euro which are guaranteed to keep you going! There are library facilities and study rooms too. The jewel in the crown of our rotations has to be obs+gynae. Students receive fantastic teaching and clinical exposure. The staff are extremely helpful. Dr. Mohammed is very encouraging towards students and constantly puts a smile on everyone’s face! Overall teaching is of a high standard and is m ore focused as we have smaller teaching groups. My experience of the teaching in the academies is generally positive! Accommodation is Castlebar is reasonable (rents ranging between 40-‐50 yoyo per week).The standard of houses is good and within good walking distance from hospital. Our activities involve astroturf soccer once a week, the odd pint in the local pub and more recently a climb to the summit of Croagh Patrick! The journey to Castlebar takes one hour from Galway which means if you want to go home often, it’s pretty easy to get there. The only negative about that is the road! In general, the hospital is m odern and the staff take an enthusiastic approach towards teaching the students. The atmosphere is helpful and friendly. If you’re lucky you might get to meet Enda Kenny walking through the town or even bump into Eddie Durkan in the local GYM!
Croagh Patrick, Co. M ayo
Sligo General Hospital is a large hospital in the middle of Sligo town. Despite the fact that several of us m ay not have been looking forward to leaving Galway for Sligo academy, the experience has been an overwhelmingly positive one so far. With almost three quarters of the semester under our belt we are all well settled in at this stage! First and foremost the teaching in Sligo academy is second to none. Having only five students to a tutor cannot be beaten in terms of intensive teaching. In the academies there is literally nowhere to hide, which may have come as a bit of a shock to some of us! There is no shortage of patients for each student to see seeing as there are so little of us here compared to Galway. A combination of dedicated tutors and mock OSCE’s in each subject ensured all us fourth m eds were well prepared for the exams two weeks ago! The atmosphere around the hospital is pleasant and you’re always guaranteed to meet a fellow student in the canteen no matter what time of day it is! The two euro dinner offer available to students ensures everyone is in the canteen at approximately the same time. Furthermore breakfast and an evening meal cost only one euro each for students. The study facilities in Sligo are not as good as Galway with the library closing at five pm all but one day a week. However the education training centre is open all the time. It has a number of computers available for students to use and also has tea and coffee making facilities as well as a microwave. As regards accommodation there is no shortage of nice two and three apartments in town. It can be a bit m ore difficult to find a larger house close to the hospital. Despite this, we succeeded in finding a tasty six bed house a fifteen minute walk from the hospital. All rooms are double en suites with TV’s in each room. The rent in Sligo varies from about sixty to seventy five euro a week. Sligo town itself is quite lively thanks to the local I.T. There is no shortage of pubs and clubs to explore and there’s always a good buzz around the town on a night out. Sligo I.T. has also generously allowed Galway students to use their facilities at student prices. Gym membership for the semester is only 45euro or three euro if you wish to pay at each visit. The astro turf pitches can also be booked for thirty five euro per hour for what’s become the weekly game of soccer between third and fourth meds-‐quite enjoyable if you’ve managed not to be butchered by Ger Kelly! Surfing in Strandhill is another activity several of us have gotten involved in at this stage, most recently with a group of us kicking off St. Paddy’s day with a surf! Having a few Sligo locals in the group has worked out nicely as they’re able to point us in the direction of a few good pubs and restaurants! The journey to Galway usually takes b etween two to two and a half hours if you’re driving. Usually you’ll find someone who’s driving if you don’t have a car yourself and thus the price of travelling is never too high! All in all I think I can speak for the group when I say that so far placement in Sligo has been very enjoyable. The price of living is cheaper than in Galway, the teaching has been exemplary and the nightlife has not disappointed! Sligo academy is a great choice for placement and I would definitely recommend it!
STUDENT TIPS!! How to Build Your CV Ten Tips 1. First Off: If you have a definite career/specialty in mind you should look for ways to gain experience and enhance skills that will help you reach that goal. If you don’t know what you want to do that doesn’t mean you should wait around. Aim to get broad experience and build basic scientific and medical skills that are applicable to any career. 2. Lead: Leadership is important in medicine as in any other field so if you’re able to show that you can lead a team you’re likely to move a lot faster. Leadership isn’t a narrowly-‐defined concept and you don’t have to be a class rep to be a leader (although that’s a good place to start). Get involved with a society (MedSoc’s AGM is on Wednesday 27th March!), lead a sports team or tackle a health issue that interests you. If you can find a way to develop your leadership skills in a broad way that’s better still-‐ the Washington Ireland Programme for Service and Leadership provides electives in Washington DC and builds your core leadership skills. 3. Write. The ability to write a strong scientific article will be key to career progression once you qualify-‐ the phrase ‘publish or perish’ has never been more relevant. There’s no point in waiting until you’re qualified to start learning, though. Start by reading journal articles and then, if you haven’t got any research to write a paper on, write a letter to a journal about a contemporary medical issue you care about. Style and contenet guidelines are available on the BMJ website. 4. Volunteer-‐ not with the first charity you come across. Find a cause you’re passionate about and do something about it. If it’s a medical charity that’s great but if it’s saving endangered beetles that’s fine too: the point is that volunteering shows that you’re willing to sacrifice your time to change something you’re passionate about-‐ a key characteristic in any good doctor. 5. Travel. Whether or not you’ve already done a lot of traveling, you can improve your CV by giving your travel a medical slant-‐ apply for Erasmus, do an overseas elective, volunteer at a hospital, attend a conference. 6. Get a hobby. Doctors who have hobbies outside of medicine are generally less likely to burn out and are happier at work. There have been interviews for Registrar schemes that focus largely on candidates’ hobbies and lives outside of medicine. 7. Get healthy. “Healthy doctors inspire healthy patients” and if you can show that you care about your own health it’s a lot more believable that you’ll care about your patients’ health. 8. Find a mentor. If you know what field you want to go into, find someone already in that specialty and ask them for tips on what to focus on and what to do to get ahead. Read papers they’ve had published, ask if they have any research you can help with but don’t badger them unnecessarily. 9. Be original. Don’t follow the crowd. If you like something that doesn’t yet have an elective, research project, placement, society, charity or club, don’t wait for someone else to start one-‐ do it yourself! 10. Summer: Do something with your summer: do an elective in a developing country or in Ireland, sign up for research, take up a sport/hobby or just go traveling with friends! It’s not too late to plan for this summer, nor too late to start thinking about next year!
7 STEPS TO RESEARCH HEAVEN!! 1) Set achievable goals for each of your eight weeks. Weekly targets will keep you on track.
2) Carry out a literature review of your topic in week 1. Reading around the topic will help your understanding and will add to your write up.
3) It can help to make a PowerPoint of aims in week 1 to give focus to your study.
4 )Keep a diary. It’s a great way to record experiments or data, or any questions you have for your supervisor.
5) Make sure to attend the orientation day in June for helpful info from lit review to SPSS.
6) Make sure to present your research at the Medsoc Undergraduate Research day in Autumn. It’s a great opportunity to present in a friendly environment.
7) Remember you are spending your summer in Galway, not the CSI!! Enjoy it! J
“HOW TO SURVIVE AN ORAL EXAM!” With Dr. Choo
Earlier in March, Mr Marcus Choo, a Consultant ENT Surgeon, working in Sligo General Hospital gave a very informative talk to a packed audience with tips and advice on how to survive your oral exams!! The talk lasted about 40 minutes with a question and answer time allocated at the end.
A summary of Mr Choo’s tips were:
DO – dress and act appropriately, develop rapport with the examiner, good eye contact, avoid yes/no answers, listen to the question, allow for brief silences, practise and feel confident (even if you don’t)
MedSoc would like to sincerely thank Mr Choo for taking the time to come to Galway for the evening. Feedback from students who attended the talk was very positive and hopefully they will remember some of Mr Choo’s tips when faced with their next oral exam!
He highlighted the fact that oral DON’T – ever answer a question exams are designed to test the limits with a question, use ‘I could’, always of a student’s knowledge and gave say ‘I would’, don’t waste time on the advice that ‘it’s important to B an k of Ir el an d s ta ff vis ited stuff you don’t know, tell them all realise that you WILL get some about the stuff you do know, don’t Sa nta at M ed B all 2012! questions wrong and that each memorise things word for word and question is a fresh start, so let the don’t ramble. old ones go!’ Oral exams are also a great opportunity for students to lead an examiner and to show what you know and hopefully avoid revealing gaps in your knowledge!
College is expensive. There is no denying it, and when you have spent what l ittle money you have in the Front Door, the need for funds for VSA or other electives can cause a lot of worry! Thankfully, over the years the student b ranch of Bank of Ireland, located on concourse, has been providing for oney is tight. Each year of your study, from first m ed to final m ed, you the medical students of NUIG when m can avail of a “Med Loan” from the b ank.
The Bank will be happy to apply for f unds for fees, maintenance, holidays, c ars or general educational costs. Up to €8,500 can be taken as part of the “Med Loan” interest free package until you graduate, at which point all you meet with the bank again to discuss your loans are lumped together and repayments. At this point, a special low interest rate is added to your traditionally this has been in the loans until they are fully repaid and region of 4% annually. Further funds are made available to 4thMed students to deal with the costs of their electives. This is the VSA loan, and it is an extra a vailable €4,000 and is also interest free until graduation. To organise loans with Bank of Ireland, NUI Galway, call Kevin on 087-‐7742206 or Mary on 087-‐7811318 or pop in to the Branch.
Going on Erasmus and studying medicine are not concepts I had ever imagined going together when I started out in college…. But here I am, sitting in deepest western Germany, reflecting on what’s been a great experience so far!!
It was about this time last year Therese Dixon got in touch with us (at the time) 2nd Meds letting us know that there were places available in 4 different countries for anyone interested in spending semester 3.2 on Erasmus. Not having a word of French, I applied for a place in the city of never heard of it either)
, hoping my rudimentary school German
would be of some help! A talk was organised in which former Erasmus students from 4th med shared with us their experiences abroad, which proved to be very helpful. It was clear that for the first time demand for places would exceed supply, so unfortunately exam results had to be taken into account for the allocation of the spots!! In late June, soon after our results were released I was told I hadn’t been successful, but a few weeks later received an email from Therese telling me there was a place if I wanted it. I didn’t need to be asked twice-‐ as lovely as Ballinasloe is and all, the chance to do a few months placement abroad instead was not going to be passed up! In September, we got in touch with our host university (Ruhr-‐Universitaet Bochum) and arranged modules (to mirror what rotations we would have being doing at home) and accommodation. So with absolutely no idea of what we were in for, we (Bronagh Kelly and I) arrived here on the 4th of January, and moved into our accommodation the next day. It’s more than comfortable. I’m living with an Italian, a Turk, and a Romanian. Luckily English is the language of communication and we all get on great! We’re living right by the university in a block popular with Erasmus students, so there’s never a shortage of parties! -‐ for our first month we were part of a class of about 30 students who were studying a module in Respiratory medicine. A mixture of lectures and hospital rounds, all teaching was in German! In February and March we’re undertaking electives in the hospitals, as the students here are actually on holidays. We’re a novelty around here, and people are going out of their way to make us feel welcome. Many doctors are very eager to speak to us in English, which is a great help. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend coming here without some basic German. It just makes life that little bit easier! All things considered the hospitals here are much the same as home. We’ve access to all the lectures going on back at home through Blackboard also. isn’t the prettiest of places but as a student city (35,000 attend the uni) you won’t get bored here. And there’s lots of local beer and Currywurst to be sampled! Its location couldn’t be better. Within one hour are the bright lights of Cologne and Dusseldorf, which we visited to experience the German Karneval, an unforgettable weekend. Within two hours by train are Brussels and Amsterdam. Travel possibilities are endless!! We are receiving a grant of 850 euro for our semester here. While this does not come close to covering living, accommodation and travel costs, it’s a help! The cost of food and drink is much lower here than at home, and we get a free lunch every day in the hospitals! So if you want to experience a different culture, experience a different healthcare system and the chance to meet people from all over the world,
BY AIDAN STANKARD 3MB
15 The idea to do an Erasmus never even occurred to me until one day we were informed that application forms were available. It was kind of an “arra I’ll throw my name down for the craic” sort of thing, which didn’t warrant much thought until I got accepted last summer.
Perhaps m y biggest concern coming here was my language ability. Having not practiced for 3 years m y French was very poor. Before to understand, unable to speak and just arriving I couldn’t help but envisage m yself staring blankly at a doctor giving orders, unable generally being useless. Fortunately this is not the case. Naturally at the beginning it was tough, on our first night ordering a Big Mac meal proved to be one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Everyone seems very accommodating though, and help by speaking slowly, repeating and using English if necessary. Before long you can understand the majority of what’s being said, and at worst simply smiling and nodding can get you through the day. Don’t let your level of French be the deciding factor for whether you go on Erasmus or not, Oisin is in Grenoble at t he moment and never spoke a word of French until about six months ago! The French, in general are quite weird and their medical system is even weirder. It’s difficult for me to accurately compare placement in Ireland with placement in France as so far I have only experienced the latter. It’s incredibly laid back or laissez faire if you to extern can consist of jeans, t-‐shirt and runners. will. Common attire for everyone from professor
is quite different. There is no definite structure to the teaching or everyday procedures. The only instruction I
was given on the first day was to go to such and such a ward where I joined a procession of white coats going from patient to quickly that nothing here is spoon fed to y ou, no bedside tutorials or the like. Unless patient, hardly being acknowledged. You realise you take the initiative it’s quite easy to become invisible, and pass through a day without really learning anything. It seems to be the type of system where if you don’t put a lot in you won’t get a lot back.
Importantly what we learn and see in the hospital here doesn’t always correlate with what everyone’s doing back home and occasionally we feel as if we’re m issing out in that respect. As a result this type of learning doesn’t appeal to everyone. Before coming here I knew very little about Montpellier. It can be to some extent considered a French Galway. It’s primarily a student orientated city with three large universities and over 50,000 students. Unlike the other Erasmus options, Montpellier isn’t covered by snow for most your stay. A lthough quite cold for the first month it is almost always dry here and now as temperatures are picking up it’s turning into quite the paradise.Nearby cities of Toulouse, Marseille and Carcassonne can make for nice day trips, Barcelona and Paris are only 3 hours on the train for a weekend away. The nice to us, welcoming us from the very first day. We have made some genuinely other med students here have been extremely good friends in our short time here and have been included in their bizarre customs and events. Such events range from a sophisticated “Gala” (essentially their m ed-‐ball equivalent) to a rave in some farmers barn with a free bar and ridiculous costumes. Apart from nights like these, going out in Montpellier tends to be quite expensive, 7.20 euro for a pint of Guinness says it all really.
. It was organised for us by our
location regarding the hospital and is incredibly representative here and to be fair is in an ideal cheap. It is a university run
accommodation but is completely unlike anything we have in Ireland. I’m sitting in my room now in a corridor of twenty similar rooms, down the hall is a kitchen with just six rings on a hob that have to cater for an entire floor, about 60 people. There is no common area or living room sort of thing. People cook in the kitchen and head back to their room to eat alone. It’s practically impossible to meet people in this way and on idle nights it can feel a bit like a prison. If anything this acts as an incentive to stay out of the house and constantly look for something to do. In hindsight if I had to do it again or for anyone considering, I’d advise trying your best to sort out an apartment before heading out.
In conclusion for anyone considering Erasmus I hope this have persuaded and enlightened you somewhat. I can guarantee
Ronan Joyce 3MB
Spotlight On… International Health An interview with Dr. Máire Connolly
Dr Máire Connolly is Adjunct Professor of International Health and Development at NUI, Galway’s School of Medicine. Having graduated from NUIG in 1989, she went on to work in numerous volatile situations around the world. In 2004, she co-‐ordinated the World Health Organisation’s response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami.
My interest in international health began during a VSA elective to Kenya in 1988. Qualified from NUIG in 1989, after internship worked in paediatrics in Baghdad, and general medicine in Sydney and Dublin. Having experienced the importance of public health medicine in developing countries, decided to pursue a career in this specialty. Awarded MPH in UCD and was accepted on to higher specialist training scheme in public health medicine in London. Awarded Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Joined WHO in Geneva in 1995 as medical officer with the Tuberculosis Programme.
WHO field missions to Afghanistan, East Timor and Kosovo as part of first UN deployment following cessation of conflict. Worked on WHO team coordinating activities of health NGOs, conducting rapid health assessments, implementing measles immunisation campaigns and controlling outbreaks of epidemic-‐prone diseases such as bacillary dysentery, dengue and malaria.
Emerging diseases – constant adaptation of the microbial world means that new diseases pose a threat for which doctors must remain vigilant. Increasing travel, trade, immigration and urbanisation all conspire to increase the potential for new pathogens to emerge. The global health community learnt many valuable lessons during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and more recently pandemic influenza H1N1. Infectious diseases – rapid diagnostic technology will revolutionise the clinical management of many diseases, ensuring fast, low cost identification of pathogens and thereby reducing the burden of many infectious diseases in both developed and developing countries.
Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland was appointed Director-‐General of WHO in 1998. She had been the youngest and first ever woman Prime Minister of Norway for 10 years. She had trained in Harvard where her vision of health extending beyond the confines of medicine into environment and development issues began to take shape. She was an inspiration to work with and brought her many skills as doctor, politician, activist and manager to her role as DG. Her handling of the SARS epidemic in 2003 was one of her greatest achievements in terms of global leadership on a health issue. She was deeply committed to improving health globally and approached her work with great integrity
“Spotlight On… International Health” An interview with Dr. Máire Connolly
in the often complex environment of the UN. With her indepth knowledge of how governments work, she made major progress in the area of macroeconomics and health. She continues to work on health and development issues, and along with Mary Robinson, is a member of the Elders under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. Dr Noel Browne became Minister for Health in 1948. I met him in March 1996 at his home in Connemara, I was in Ireland on behalf of WHO as part of World TB Day activities to raise awareness of the disease. He implemented the national TB control programme in Ireland in the 1950s which was successful in reducing the incidence of TB in the country. Through the Mother and Child scheme, he sought to implement free medical care for mothers and their children but encountered resistance from a number of sources including the Catholic church. Recent events may be seen to have vindicated his criticism of the church-‐state relationship in Ireland at that time. He was a man who showed great integrity and kept to his principles even when it was not politically advantageous to him.
A great doctor is one who recognises the honour of being given the role of healer in society. It is a noble profession with traditions going back thousands of years in many diverse cultures. Compassion, sensitivity and integrity are three qualities that make a great doctor.
Good question! For me, one mistake was possibly to have travelled too much when my three kids were very small. I also ended up in a number of high risk situations in Gaza, East Timor and Somalia which looking back on I was fortunate to have gotten out of. While the demands of postgraduate training are increasing, I would urge doctors who are parents of young children to cherish the time you have with them while pursuing career goals. Another mistake was not to have started working on research projects and submitting papers to peer reviewed journals while still at medical school. It is a great discipline and contributing to furthering scientific knowledge in an area is very rewarding.
“Find your passion! Find what it is in Medicine that excites you!”
Find your passion! Find what it is in medicine that you find exciting. Be creative, medicine has many potential paths. Whatever field of medicine you decide to specialise in, do it to the best of your ability. Take opportunities to experience health care systems/research institutions in other countries, both developed and developing, valuable lessons can be learnt in other settings. Try make time to explore the arts and other fields of human endeavour despite the intensity of postgraduate medical training.
M ED SO C I S P R O UD LY SP O N SO R E D B Y:
M ED SO C N E W SL ET TE R I S E DIT E D B Y F I ON A N O LA N (4 M B ) Contribu tions from Re bec c a Fi nne gan, Re bec ca She eran, Mar ia Dui gnan, Colm H arri ng ton , John n y C am pion , A n n Spellm an , P ishoy Gou da, A ida n Stan kard , Ron an Joyc e, Ta riq E sma il, Rhona W her ity, D e rmot N olan, Ciara Joy, Dr . Ge rar d Flahe rty, D r. B rian Stew art, Dr . Sean Di nne en and Prof essor Colm Mc D ona ld .
T o s ubm it a rticle s f or u pco min g ne ws le tte rs or f or an y o ther is su e s,
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Newletter of the NUIG Medical Society Issue 2.