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Greg Bacon

gbaconYear: Fourth (At time of interview: December 2017)

Hometown: Cambridge

Education: Biomedical Science at Sheffield University

What work experience had you gained before coming here?

I volunteered at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge for a few years on a weekly basis, which consisted of talking to patients, assisting with feeding patients at meal time and acting as a guide for relatives around the hospital site. I undertook several shadowing experiences (F2, GP, neurosurgery). I also worked as a Health Care Assistant on the neurosurgery ward for a year, which was hands down the most useful experience. It gave me a great insight into working at a hospital and understanding patient care and I was able to talk to doctors about a career in medicine.

Why did you choose Warwick?

Because they gave me an offer! I liked the fact that it is a graduate only course, there is early clinical exposure, and they use plastinated specimens for anatomy teaching. I had already done dissection as part of my previous degree and found seeing professionally dissected specimens more useful than the actual process of dissection.

How have you found the MB ChB?

Our first year anatomy sessions were taught to an incredibly high standard, despite it being a particularly hard subject to teach. It was a good balance of weekly practical sessions and lecture-based teaching. The GP placements in phases 2 and 3 were a great learning experience, and enabled us to get a lot of hands-on practice undertaking clinical histories and examinations, enabling us to develop our clinical skills. I had never considered a career in general practice before this! It initially seems daunting taking histories and examinations on placements, but you'll become much more comfortable with time.

What have you most enjoyed during the course?

For me it was my musculoskeletal (rheumatology, trauma, orthopaedics) and acute medicine placements in phase 3. These are areas of medicine i'm particularly interested in, and they allow you to get actively involved within the team and clerk patients, even as a medical student.

Has anything surprised you about the course?

The sheer amount of information that you have to know! You have to accept you will never know it all, and will need to change your learning and revision techniques from your previous degree due to the sheer quantity of work.

Have you taken part in any extracurricular activities during your time here?

I'm the vice-captain of Warwick University Tennis Team, represent Cambridgeshire, and have played in the first team throughout all four years whilst here at Warwick. It's sometimes difficult to balance this with the course, but it is possible!

Do you have any idea at this stage about what you'd like to specialise in in the future?

I'm particularly interested in Sports and Exercise Medicine, possibly Trauma and Orthopaedics, or even GP!

Do you have any advice for people applying?

It took me four attempts to get into medicine (twice as a school leaver, twice for graduate medicine), so don't give up! Hands down the changes that got me interviews and offers in my last cycle were increasing my UKCAT scores and having experience working as a Health Care Assistant. There are lots of resources for increasing your UKCAT (courses, books), and it's a myth that you can't improve your score. Working as an HCA gives you lots of examples to talk about at interviews (and in your personal statement) regarding teamwork, communication, leadership and coping with pressure - all of which may be assessed at interviews.