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I’ve had a few asks about how to write - as one of you put it - a bomb ass personal statement. I’m a bit reluctant to write this, seeing as I haven’t actually got an interview/offer yet! But I guess it might be helpful to those of you applying around now :)
HOW TO START
- Bullet point what you want to include - I suggest listing out what you want to include. It’s a good idea to do this at the beginning, to make sure you don’t leave anything out; and it can help form the basic structure of your statement.
- Do not start at the start - this is one of the most important things I learnt when writing mine. It is so hard to write that first sentence - so just leave it until the end, and begin writing with the actual cont ent, something you’re more comfortable writing about.
- When you do get down to writing that first sentence - do not start with a cheesy quote or the typical “I have always bee passionate about…” as these are things that can immediately put off an admissions tutor. Try and be original, or just simple: “I want to study X because…”
- Just keep writing - don’t worry about the 4,000 character and 47 line limits. Literally just write, and keep going, even if you think what you’re writing is bad - just get all your ideas out there, and put down everything you would want to include. It’s so much easier to take things out rather than adding things in. My personal statement was around 8,000 characters at one point!`
- Get the balance right - different unis want different things from personal statements, so check their website s to make sure you’re getting in what they want. You need to get the balance of intellectual curiosity/passion for the subject with your personal qualities and extra-curriculars.
- Back up everything with evidence - don’t just say you are great at working in a team, give examples that demonstrate that you have worked well in successful teams in the past.What to include?
WHAT TO INCLUDE
- Why you want to study that particular course
- Why you are the right person to study the course
- Extra things you have done to show commitment or interest about the course - volunteering, subscriptions to journals, further reading etc.
- Any relevant work experience
- Any relevant awards you’ve won (e.g. maths challenge or physics olympiad) or responsibilities within the school (e.g. prefect or house captain)
- Demonstrate desirable skills for your course - problem solving, teamwork, leadership etc.
WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE
- Cliches - like “Ever since I was born I have wanted to study…”
- Quotes - this is a personal statement, so don’t start quoting other people! Plus way too many people do this to make it original.
- Jokes - it may be that the person reading your statement has a very different sense of humour than you do.
- Really long sentences - you want your personal statement to be as easy as possible to read, and long confusing sentences won’t help that.
- Repetition - it’s such a short document, you don’t have space for this. Plus it gets boring!
- Names of unis - the unis you apply to have no idea where else you have applied, so don’t name any of them in your statement.
- Do not end on a cheesy quote or joke. Just sum up why you’d be a great candidate and reinforce what you have told them throughout the main body of the statement - that you’re fabulous!
- Once you have finished a draft you can start trying to cut down on the word count. Maybe ask a teacher to look at your spelling/grammar, and you can always get your friends’ opinions too, on what should come out, and what should be kept in. Make sure you don’t let other people have too much influence - it has to be a personal statement!
studylizziee asked: "Hi :) I was wondering how you cope with pressure to succeed, both from yourself and others? (Coming from an A Level student who feels like her entire life is dependent on her grades this and next year, if she wants to get into medical school) Thank you xx"
Pressure is a difficult thing to deal with. The worse it gets,the worse our ability to deal with it. And sometimes there really is a huge pressure placed on us. sometimes the things expected of us are big. Or serious.
The thing is, we see success as big, grand actions. Big grand, results. But actually, it’s made up of lots of small successes, the result of many small steps. The key to not being consumed by our anxiety, is to break down our path into small steps.
If it’s getting too much for you, then forget the steps at the end of the journey; we’re nowhere near that yet. Focus on the small steps right in front of you.
Focus on putting your heart into your learning. Into staying up to date. Into tackling any topics that you find re ally hard, and seeking help when you need it. Take every day at a time One essay at a time. One homework at a time. One test at a time. You can’t worry about your final exams when you’ve got a year’s worth of homeworks to get through!
Yes, A levels are important (though perfect A levels aren’t necessarily the only way to med school), but doing well in your A levels is an achievable goal. If you work sustainedly over the two years.
When you are focused on each task, rather than worrying about everything else that might be going on, you can do your best. Which means that you should get the best out of yourself, for every step along the way. And if you’ve been working steadily over your A levels, then, chances are, your exams at the end of those two years will go more than just OK.
The thing to remember is that the fear/anxiety and pressure are usually worse than the reality. The further along I get, the less I think the re’s any point in dreading things in adance. Of course, thats not to say that I’m immune ot nerves, anxiety or pressure! But if you remember that it’s probably not going to help, and that the reality is probably a lot less scary than the pressure, then it’s easier to distract oneself.
It’s all bit like how we deal with a cardiac arrest. Horrifying situation, right? Right. But actually, there’s a plan. You have an algorithm; a series of steps that you carry out, in order. It looks something like this:
Taken from the real UK adult life support guidelines, available to download here. Now, there are more things you can do (depending on what caused the cardiac arrest,) but you get the picture. Look how simple it is! How clear the instructions are.
Each time you come to an assessment, there’s a clear plan for what the next step should be, based on what you’ve just found out. You don’t need to worry about everything at once, because your path is clearly laid out for you. Don’t worry about circulation until you’ve assesed airways. Don’t worry about shocking until you’ve checked if the rhythm is shockable. And the reason that it works, is because you do things in the order of urgency.
Out of chaos, order is made. Because you take one step at a time. And in many ways, some of the most stressful situations in medicine can actually be straight forward to deal with, if you have a clear protocol to work with.
Take each step as it comes. Don’t lose track of the bigger picture, but whenever you begin to become overhwelmed, remember that every big task can be broken down into lots of little ones.
That’s how a team brings someone back from a cardiac arrest. And that’s how you get through the pressure of something like A levels.
The anatomy and function of the adrenal cortex can be summarized into one short phrase: “Salt, Sugar, & Sex: The deeper you go, the better it gets.”
My (human) endocrinology lecturer called it &ldq uo;the deeper you go, the sweeter it gets” …
Haha. I like that one better!
It was only made better by the prof’s mischievous expression as well as their gesticulations.
wolfiestudies asked: "Sorry to be nosy but I'm planning on becoming a med student after sixth form and i was curious to know the salary for jounior doctors in UK? :)"
Hello! Not at all, it’s no problem.
Since we all work for the NHS, the salary of junior doctors is not a secret; it’s available online for everyone to see. This means that regardless of gender or age (or any other factor) you usually know exactly what you should be paid.
This is a screenshot from the BMA page on pay scales 2016-2017. This is based on the old contract, because the vast majority of us junior doctors will be on the old contract until August.
Our pay structure was like this for over a decade, b ut we’ve recently been forced into a new contract that changes how much we are paid and how our pay is calculated significantly. Some specialities have started on this new contract, but many haven’t so it makes things a little complicated. Under the new contract some people get paid more, and some will get paid less, but I think the above picture is a good enough summary to give you a basic idea of how much we earn.
The first table shows the first two years of being a junior doctor. There’s a minumum amount we earn, but we only earn that much if you work 9-5 jobs only (and there are a few rotations like that). If you work a reasonable number of nights and weekends, you earn 40% more than that, and if you work a lot of nights and weekends, you earn 50% more than the minimum.
We also earn a little more with each year of experience under the current contract. Under the new contract, Our earnings go up in less steps, but by larger amounts.
We start off at a bare minimum of around £23K but in reality most earn around 26K when you take into account that they have banding (work nights and weekends so earn more on top of the basic amount.
A senior junior doctor (i.e. a very senior registrar) can earn over 47K but it can take 9 years of registrar traning to get to that point. During this time, doctors are free to take on locum shifts, which are paid at significantly higher rates than normal working hours, so doctors do have some potential to earn more than the amounts above, if they choose to.
There has been a lot of discussion over the new contract; it will leave some doctors better off, and others worse off. Overall, we don’t expect the new contract to result in more pay, but in less pay for a lot of people. The government wouldn’t change our contracts and rotas to pay us more despite all our protests etc.
The context of pay in the UK
It’s hard to understand our salary without the context of what earnings are like in the UK; the average salary in the UK is 26.5K, which is about what most doctors start on. However, the median average for graduate pay is £29,000 in the UK.
On one hand, this means doctors are far from poor; we start on an average footing, with the potential to slowly increase in pay through the years. A (doctor) consultant can expect to reach 100K after 17 years of working as a consultant, so we can’t deny that medicine has earning potential and that compared to many in the UK who struggle financially, being in medicine is at least a modestly good income. You could do a lot worse.
That said, we have costs that many jobs don’t; like indemnity insurance, paying for all our own training and exams, higher university loans, and spending a longer time out of work because we took longer to train.
And medicine isn’t the only decently paid graduate job in the UK; there are many other graduate jobs which pay well, according to targetjobs.co.uk, who cite figures from the AGR survey of 2016:
- Law firm £38,000
- Investment bank or fund managers £37,000
- Banking or financial services £33,000
- Public sector £33,000
- Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company £29,000
- IT/telecommunications £29,000
- Engineering or industrial company £26,500
- Accountancy or professional services firm £25,000
- Energy, water or utility company £27,500
- Construction company or consultancy £25,625
- Transport or logistics company £25,000
- Retail £24,000
The Telega ph lists the top 10 graduate job sectors as being:
10. Engineering and industrial/Chemical and pharmaceutical £27,500
9. Consumer goods £27,500
8. Accounting and professional services £29,000
Armed forces £29,500
6. Banking and finance £30,000
5. Consulting £31,500
3=. Media £32,500.
3. Oil and Energy £32,500
2. Law £38,000.
1. Investment banking £45,000
Arguably, the people who get into medicine are highly motivated, educated people who could do well in a lot of fields and would probably be able to earn much more in the private sector, if they weren’t doing medicine. But it’s worth noting that all of these sectors are also competitive and difficult in their own way; they certainly aren’t an easy way to riches.
My answer ended up being rather long and rambly, but I hope this helps give you a bit of infromation behind it all. If you have any questions about it, let me know.
My current medical placement is on an Endocrine ward. This basically means that as a firm, we should get all the acute diabetes cases; complications including renal disease, ulcers, hypoglycaemia etc. We also get people who have deranged electrolytes such as a low sodium, which in some cases is an indication of an underlying cancer or other disease. If I was in a tertiary centre (big teaching hospital) then I would be seeing exciting, rare endocrine cases such as Cushing’s, Addisonian crises and the like. As i t is, in a district general hospital, there are not enough endocrine cases to fill the ward and as such we become the dumping ground for various other cases.
We take the social care cases, the patients who are awaiting placement, the long stayers, people with no discharge destination, the waifs and strays of the hospital. Whilst this feels like it should be a varied job, it is actually the dullest thing in the world. Within a very short space of time these patients are medically stable and they are in need of physiotherapy, OT input and social services for packages of care. Or they are awaiting transfer to a rehabilitation ward, or to another hospital for dialysis, or amputation. A typical ward round for us consists of maybe three or four patients who are medically unwell, and then about 20 medically fit long stayers.
This makes you incredibly lazy as a physician. It is so easy to write “obs stable, afebrile, no new issues” in the notes several times ove r and then go get a coffee and spend the day surfing the net. It is incredibly easy to miss a hospital acquired infection because you haven’t listened to someone’s lungs for a day or two, or noticed that their catheter is draining more concentrated urine. These guys go off quickly too, they go from months of medical stability to dead in a day or two.
It is a well known fact that increased time in hospital increases your risk of getting an infection and dying. It drives me crazy the amount of time it takes to get these guys out of hospital. I understand that there is a complicated assessment process involved in setting up placements, for example. The patient has to be needs assessed, placed in the right type of care facility, means tested for funding and then the individual home has to be seen and agreed by either the patient or their family. This can take weeks. What worsens this process is the total inability of any professional inside or outside of hospital to comm unicate with someone else. Social services will require a checklist. They will not communicate which checklist to the nursing staff. The nurses will fill in an inappropriate checklist, fax it off and it will be declined. The decision will not be communicated back to the ward. The doctors will go on the ward round and write “medically fit for discharge, awaiting placement” for weeks on end without knowing where in the process they are. Inappropriate people will be asked about updates - OTs get asked when the placement will be approved even though it is driven by social services, but social services are never on the ward and frustration leads to apportioning blame for delay to the wrong people.
Every time that someone is discharged from hospital with an existing package of care that needs restarting, a section 5 is necessary 48 hours prior to discharge to give the carers time to set up the package again. Everyone knows this is necessary, we know who comes in with a POC and therefore they will certainly need the same or increased POC on discharge, yet inevitably we will get to the morning of departure and it is news to everyone that the section 5 has not been sent. It is apparently impossible for the different teams on the ward to communicate directly with each other. People write their interactions in the notes and other teams don’t read them and then plans are made on incorrect information.
In order to attempt to coordinate all these things, there is a multidisciplinary team meeting on a weekly basis. This is my least favourite activity of the week. At face value, it is an excellent plan. You can get updates from therapy, nurses, discharge teams and doctors and then everyone is on the same page and we can expedite someone’s discharge. In reality, however, most weeks social services don’t turn up, totally negating the point of the meeting for at least half of the patients, or the sister in charge will have out of date infor mation, or the doctors will spend half the meeting discussing someone entirely medical, thereby wasting the time of every other professional in the room. In complete defiance of their job title, the discharge liaison team neither discharge, nor liaise. The social worker never has an up to date ward list and is always at least 3 weeks behind with information. It would make a brilliant sketch show, it would be hilarious if it was exaggerated. As it is, people sit in acute hospital beds costing the NHS £500 per night doing nothing other than eat shit hospital food, go delirious from a hospital acquired infection, or become thoroughly institutionalised because it takes four months to communicate the need for placement, fill in the correct forms and get approval.
I don’t know what the answer is, obviously people should be in a place of safety until they can be appropriately discharged, but should that place be an acute ward in a hospital? Arguably not. In addition, most o f the patients have come in with relatively minor complaints such as a UTI or chest infection, and got stuck after recovery due to worsened mobility or inappropriate houses for discharge. This job has definitely highlighted to me the importance of trying everything possible in A&E to get these patients safely out of the door. No one wants to take responsibility for discharging a 92 year old with a UTI in case she goes home and falls. But the other option is a 6 month hospital stay, loss of independence and eventual placement. Obviously, if people are unsafe at home I am not suggesting emergency care physicians chuck them out into the cold at 3AM, however, all most people need is a course of antibiotics, or some IV fluids, or plugging in to community services and they will be fine. Alternatively, we saturate our medical wards with people who have no medical problems, and the doctors become deskilled and lazy, and wonder why they bothered going to medical school in the first place.
The most difficult thing sometimes is explaining to relatives that hospital is really not the best place for an otherwise well 90 year old who really just needs an increased care package. Relatives can be really anxious about their loved one going home and patients themselves can be really reticent about leaving the security of hospital. But it’s complicated.
Hospitals are full of bugs; after all, they are filled with sick people. They are artificial, stressful places. They are the perfect place to recover from serious illness. But they are no place for a well person, especially not someone who is vulnerable to catching hospital-acquired infection. There is no sadder thing than having a patient who is stuck waiting for placement succumb to hospital acquired illness and eventually die despite your team’s best efforts. And knowing that, if they’d managed to get home earlier they might still be alive. I wouldn’t wish that on my loved ones, and I endeavour each and every time for it not to be the reality for yours.
This is why cuts to social and other community services matter.
This is so true. I couldn’t count the number of elderly people who were in hospital and developed norovirus in the recent outbreak, and as a result got an acute kidney injury,delaying their discharge by at least a week or worse, aspirated on their vomit.
I did not know that in 7 states in America, you can carry out an abortion the day before you give birth (allows abortion at any time). That’s so fucking disgusting. And other states allow abortion up to 28 weeks. That’s not a ball of cells no more, that’s a damn baby. It’s good that abortion is legal but not the fucking late into the pregnancy 😷😷 nasty
You do know the reason ab ortion is carried out that late in a pregnancy is because of fetal abnormalities, right? There’s no woman that stays pregnant for 8 months and then decides “Meh, I’m just gonna have an abortion instead.”
These women are not nasty, they are not evil, they are women who were so excited to welcome their little one into this world. They are women who had a nursery set up and baby clothes bought. They are women who excitedly waited for their due date, took belly photos and updated the world on how their pregnancy was coming along. They are the women who woke up one day and felt that their baby wasn’t moving anymore. They are the women that felt in their gut that something was terribly wrong, just to have their worst fears confirmed.
They are the women who went to a regular checkup to find out that their baby is severely deformed and won’t live outside the womb, or will but only for a few days and suffer terribly the whole time. They are the women who have to make a decision to not let their baby suffer.
Women having abortions that late are not women who just decided to get an abortion 8 months into pregnancy. While that is there right to do so, know that isn’t what happens. Know that that isn’t the reality.
This is really upsetting to read but it is the truth, more people need to know this.
Something like 90% of abortions are first trimester, which is so early that the medical terminology vacillates between “zygote” and “fetus”, and whatever the name, the thing’s the size of a pencil eraser and has 0% ability to survive outside of the womb.
The remainder are performed in the 2nd trimester, generally as a result of fetal abnormality or a severe congenital defect.
The vanishingly rare 3rd trimester abortions are generally for one of two reasons:
1) the life of the mother is in serious danger
2) the fetus is eith er dead or dying
So no. Women aren’t just bouncing on coat-hangers at 37 weeks for a giggle, they’re undertaking a serious medical procedure for a heartbreaking reason.
But nice try, jerk.