Medical students praise another successful cardiothoracic surgery course in Blackpool

Mr Antony Walker, Miss Gillian Hardman, with Medical students Grace Chaplain and Georgia Bailey

Medical students from the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University Medical School have been given the opportunity to work under consultant supervision to gain unique experience and develop an understanding of cardiothoracic surgery.

The course has been running for three years and was designed by Miss Gillian Hardman, Cardiothoracic National Training Registrar. With the help of Cardiothoracic Consultant Mr Antony Walker, and in collaboration with the Medical Education Department,  the programme has been put together as a week-long residential course, offering two students per week the opportunity to work in the department.

Georgia and Grace are in their second year in medical school at the University of Liverpool.

Georgia said: “The experience we have had this week has been amazing, it was great to work under a consultant and registrar in an intense environment. The accommodation was good, and it was nice to stay on site”.

“The course has really helped me understand what sort of medical role would suit me. I have loved developing and having a mentor alongside me in the department”.

“I have gained huge insight into the speciality thanks to Mr Walker and the support of his staff, namely, Gill Hardman”.

Grace said “It has been fantastic to be part of a team, being involved with shadowing, and having the chance to work with patients.

“We have had regular meetings throughout the week, and been given the chance for reflection and feedback which has really helped our learning.

“I feel like I now have a basic understanding of the speciality, prior to the course I didn’t know very much! I have enjoyed this week so much, even at this early stage I am considering studying further into the speciality of cardiothoracic surgery, as is Georgia”.

Georgia said “We are both much less apprehensive about our future placements at Blackpool, we would both definitely come back to study here. I would highly recommend the course for students who have an interest in the speciality, and also people who don’t! It is really beneficial to everyone!

Miss Gillian Hardman Cardiothoracic ST6, said, “Recruitment to surgical specialties is becoming a problem.  The undergraduate medical student curriculum has little to no exposure to surgery and the surgical specialties.  This course provides an insight into working life, as well as the specialty, and also showed students the educational opportunities and great facilities that are available to them if they choose to study here in Blackpool”

“It is really positive for the department to have students around and to develop working relationships. The students are able to learn in a friendly, supportive environment and it is great to see their enthusiasm for our specialty, they are gaining a real interest. It is so important from a recruitment aspect to make Blackpool an attractive place to study and work.

Mr Walker added, “Cardiothoracic surgery is a relatively small and very highly specialised area of medicine. Many students may never get the opportunity to talk to our patients or experience any aspect of our work. The course was designed to fill this gap and help students gain some insight and experience of the exciting and important work we do. The Lancashire Cardiac Centre is one of the busiest centres in the country, offering excellent results in a wide variety of cardiac and thoracic surgical treatments. At the same time the entire department has a very positive and welcoming approach to learning, something that I hope past, present and future students, visitors and patients will benefit from”.


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