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Clara Farque

clara2.jpgYear: Fourth (At time of interview: March 2017)
Hometown: London
Education: BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Sussex University

What work experience had you gained before coming to Warwick?

Before joining WMS, I joined St John's Ambulance and took over the university's branch for a year. I had also previously helped out at a summer camp for children with chronic diseases (Over the Wall). I was a nanny during my spare time - although that isn't work experience per se, I think it definitely helped show that I could work comfortably with children and hold a position of responsibility.

Why did you choose Warwick?

I chose Warwick because of the graduate programme - I was very keen on getting started with clinical work early on, and the shortened and focused course seemed perfect. Its short distance to London also was a bonus!

How have you found the MB ChB?

I'm part of the first group of students experiencing the new curriculum, and although it has had its teething issues, we have been given a lot of opportunities within clinical and academic medicine. The first year was quite difficult due to the need to cover all the basics within nine months, but the clinical phase after that has been very fulfilling and exactly what I was hoping to experience as a student. Warwick Medical School definitely delivers on its promise for early and thorough clinical exposure. Your confidence and knowledge builds up and is tested every day through ward rounds, clinics and discussions with the staff.

Clinics have been good opportunities to talk to patients and practise history and examination skills. Towards the end of the rotations, the consultants let you lead the consultations, stepping in when needed. You're then asked to share your opinions on investigations and management plans, and it's always a relief when the consultant agrees with you!

What have you enjoyed most about the course?

I liked the early clinical exposure, but what I have enjoyed the most is building relationships within the medical team. The trust that is created enables you to take on more responsibilities within the allocated tasks and you're ultimately more involved in patient care.

The Medical School has also shown us another facet of medicine, which is care of the chronically ill patient. I think that this work has been incredibly useful and important in light of the present pressures on hospitals, and has taught us to really think about patients as they leave hospital and are reintegrated back into the community.

It's been very insightful to be able to spend some time with patients in their own homes or care homes, and really gives you another perspective on caring for your patient in the long term. Through these opportunities we've been able to meet professionals from other disciplines - physios, district nurses, community midwives, health visitors etc, which has been very useful to build our understanding of the notion of caring of the patient within multidisciplinary teams.

Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities during your time here?

During the first year it was quite difficult to get involved with sport teams or societies etc due to the fast pace, but once in clinical phase you have a bit more spare time. I was part of Sexpression, which is a group of students who go and teach sexual health education in local schools. I've recently set up the student branch of the Anglo-French Medical Society, which aims to teach medical French to students, as well as generally fostering relationships between French and British healthcare professionals.

The most exciting activity of all four years at medical school was co-directing the Medics Revue, which is a musical comedy show run every year by the medical students, and arguably the best night of the year!

What are your plans now that you're at the end of the course? Do you have any idea what you'd like to specialise in?

I've changed my mind a lot about what I want to do after medical school, because I've enjoyed so many different specialties. At the moment I'm torn between Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Geriatrics and GP! Hopefully I'll be able to narrow it down after my foundation years.

What advice would you give to people planning to apply?

The biggest piece of advice I could give would be about work experience. Do something that will genuinely interest you and prove to the admissions team that you are dedicated to a cause. I find that there is too much pressure to undertake certain types of work experience, pushing potential students to want to tick boxes rather than show true commitment.