On Saturday 8th April, 10 budding medical students attended a Surgical Skills taster Day at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford organised through the Bridging Programme with the Hugh Cairns Surgical Society, a group of medical students with a special interest in surgery. We were taught practical clinical and surgical skills in a workshop environment, making the learning process more interactive and bringing what we had learnt in the classroom to life.
We walked up to the hospital and the day started with teaching how to safely perform basic surgical procedures to prevent infections. We were given the opportunity to practice a range of surgical procedures including gloving, surgical hand scrubs and knot tying, which involves both hand knots and suturing with surgical instruments. The facilities provided to students were very impressive and there was even a special machine that showed you if you had washed your hands properly.
After this, basic physical examination techniques were explained. We practiced taking measurements of the four main vital signs that are routinely monitored- body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and respiratory rate- with medical devices such as the stethoscope. It was especially interesting to hear that an old fashioned stethoscope actually delivers much more accuracy than relying on electronic equipment alone.
In the afternoon, we split into groups to learn some more about how doctors diagnose patients through communicating with patients effectively. This includes asking a range of questions, such as how patients currently feel and their past medical history. These allow doctors to identify possible diagnosis and provide suitable treatments. We were also advised on how to structure the questions so as to make sure that important details would not be missed out. The session finished with role-playing case studies, which enabled us to practice the diagnostic skills learnt and apply our knowledge of medical science that we had learnt through A-levels and the Bridging Programme to identify what was wrong with the patient and how they should be treated.
The Surgical Skills Day gave students a great opportunity to gain an insight into the medical field careers that many of the participants are interested in. Everyone enjoyed the day and it has been a great help in advancing our interest and skills in medicine. Thank you for organising this lovely activity!
This article was written by Angela Lee, AS Medical Pathway student at Oxford International College