April 2017

We are quickly approaching the end of year 3 and I don’t know where to look first. The lack of Christmas exams means that there is much more to cover before the final year exams. We are about to finish the second half of the year, called MDEMO, or Musculoskeletal Diseases, Emergency Medicine and Ophthalmology.

This unit combines orthopaedics, rheumatology and trauma teachings with attachments to emergency medicine and ophthalmology. The final year exams consist of two written exams, one for Junior Medicine & Surgery and MDEMO, and the other one for Pathology. On top of that, we will be sitting two clinical exams, called OSCEs, which consist of a number of 10-minute long stations, each with a different patient and a clinical scenario. We are to assume a role of a junior doctor and take a relevant history, examination and investigations. This clinical exam tests our ability to decide under pressure, as well as our comfort levels in clinical settings.

Only one week after these exams, we must return back to Bristol and start our summer projects, or eSSCs (external student selected components). I have chosen an audit project with one of the consultant cardiologist in Bristol Heart Institute. There is a new drug developed for treating chronic symptomatic heart failure with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction. It has been established that Entresto is more effective in reducing mortality than other mainstay drug therapies. We are therefore curious to find out how effectively this drug is being prescribed to patients with heart failure and if there is anything we can do to improve the compliance with the NICE guidelines. If all goes well, I could present the findings at the Heart Failure 2018 meeting of European Society of Cardiologists. 

These presentations and publications are useful when applying for foundation year training and, in particularly, for specialty training. It is one of the most effective ways of showing early commitment to a particular specialty and goes a long way in securing a national training number.

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