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James Keasley

James KeasleyYear: Fourth (At time of interview: December 2017)

Hometown: Gloucester

Education: BA Music, Oxford University

What work experience had you gained before coming here?

I spent one week in a local GP practice and one week with an acute medical firm in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Getting an insight into both primary and secondary care was really useful in order to gain an overview of how different parts of the NHS work.

Why did you choose Warwick?

Warwick appealed to me because it was a totally graduate course. It was encouraging to think that everyone was starting from the same place and that you weren't playing catch up with another cohort who had more time. I also liked the fact that we gained clinical exposure from early on in the course, giving us the chance to put into practice the skills that we had learnt in the classroom.

How have you found the MB ChB?

It's certainly a busy course, but I have really enjoyed it. I'm about to sit my finals so have just completed the last set of specialty blocks. A medical degree is so varied and you are fortunate enough to see and do so many things in such a short space of time. The Warwickshire NHS trust serves a really diverse community and it has been really interesting to work with a wide range of different patients and healthcare professionals.

How have you found the transition from an arts degree to medicine? Have you seen a difference between the students who did arts or humanities undergraduate degrees and those who did a science degree?

It was definitely tough to start with. But then again I think first year is probably tough whatever degree you already have under your belt. I took A level Biology at school and that was definitely helpful. If anything, I think the arts/humanities students knew that we had to hit the ground running so after a couple of months there wasn't much difference between the scientists/non-scientists. There was also some support available for non-science students who wanted a little more help. I think it's great that we all have different backgrounds because it means that we all bring something different to CBL (case based learning) and other group work sessions. It also means the cohort is a lot more diverse than on a conventional undergraduate course. The arts students also do just as well when it comes to exams!

What have you enjoyed most about the course?

I particularly enjoyed the GP and Acute blocks that I completed recently. We were given the opportunity to run through tricky scenarios in 'SIM' sessions whilst being watched by fellow students and a tutor. This would either involve assessing a critically sick simulation patient as part of a team or leading a GP consultation with a challenging case. This was so useful and gave me the chance to 'try out' some difficult consultations before I have to do them for real when the stakes are a lot higher.

Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities during your time here? Have you been able to continue your interest in music?

I'm still keeping up with music and am a member of a string quartet. I've also taught several music students over the four years. In second year I was the President of MedSoc and helped to organise lots of events, including the first year freshers' weeks as well as a winter and summer ball.

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

At this stage I'm not really sure. I've enjoyed lots of the different blocks, especially Medicine, Acute and GP - hopefully I'll have more of an idea by the end of FY2.

Do you have any advice for people applying?

Make the most of your work experience - for me it wasn't about the number of hours that I did, but what I learnt from each placement. It'll also give you a better idea of whether or not medicine might be for you. It's worth practising for the aptitude tests as well because that often plays a large part in being invited to interview.