The four students had intercalated in a variety of subjects: pharmacology, psychology and statistics, giving several different perspectives.
Initially the focus was on the pros:
Through undertaking an intercalated degree students can gain valuable new skills and enjoy a subject they are genuinely interested in. Students can also gain confidence in interpreting and analysing research papers, something that we have minimal exposure to in medical school but are expected to do throughout our medical careers. Furthermore research projects provide opportunities for students to get work published and present research at conferences.
Followed by cons:
Many students find their intercalating to be the most challenging year at medical school and the written exams can be extremely tough. The workload can be heavy – completing a research project, module coursework and summer exams.
Intercalating adds another year of study to an already long course. The talk covered the integration into the new year group and return to a medical degree after a year away. Whilst intercalating may be off putting due to moving years most students do not find this to be a problem and integrate well with a new year. Losing clinical knowledge can also be a worry to students, however, most of them found the transition back into clinical medicine to be fairly easy.
They all found intercalating to be a great experience and would highly recommend it. However, it is not for everyone and researching the degrees thoroughly before choosing is essential.
Sarah Lynch and Anon
Boring or brilliant?
Points or pointless?
So how do you go about doing some research? Some people are lucky enough to have done an interesting degree before medicine that included research.
So why not intercalate?
But if these are not your cup of tea why not join the Cardiff University Research Society?
The CUReS website has a list of projects that doctors are currently or are interested in doing.
So if you’re a budding infectious disease consultant with an interest in Schistosomiasis then why not try and do an SSC or project during your spare time to stand out from the crowd?
If you like. Or not.
By Sara Lisa James
Dr Dana Huq courtesy of Yue Guan
Dr Z Dana Huq, a former Cardiff University student now working as an F1 at the Heath hospital, gave an informative talk to the second year medical students about his experience with planning an elective.
He originally planned to go to Sharm el Sheikh for a 5 week elective at the Hyperbaric Medical Centre as he is a keen scuba diver. However, due to the unsettled political status of the country at the time, the elective had to be cancelled and reorganised. After enquiring at several different hospitals across the world and hearing little back, he decided on an elective at Fremantle Hospital in Perth, Australia. He spent 5 weeks there, working in the Hyperbaric and A&E departments and enjoyed his elective immensely. He benefited in particular by gaining experience in hyperbaric medicine which he was thinking of specialising in at the time. However, he found the A&E specialty and the clinical experience he gained from working in a fast paced environment to be more appealing to him and his future career decision. He gained experience in suturing, nerve blocks and night shifts in a foreign healthcare system and recommended Australia highly as a place for great clinical experiences as well as leisure opportunities.
Dr Dana Huq advised on the practicalities of organising electives from selecting the country to booking flights. His take home messages were to have back up options if elective plans fall through, investigate hidden costs, especially if travelling to first world countries such as Australia and America and to start planning early.
By Katie Field