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Madhu Rangaraju

MadhuYear: Third (At time of interview: January 2017)

Hometown: Chennai, India

Education: Undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Leeds and a Masters in Medical Ethics and Law from Keele University.

Why did you decide to study medicine in the UK?

I was keen to stay in the UK because of the NHS and the fact that the healthcare system here is still public, whereas in other countries like America and India it’s privatised and insurance-based, which can change the way you practise medicine. Gaining a degree from the UK is seen as very prestigious abroad, and having studied for my BSc and Masters here I felt like I’d adapted to the lifestyle and wanted to continue that.

Why did you choose Warwick?

The Warwick course appealed to me because it was one of only a few courses aimed at postgraduates, and it had a bigger cohort. I also liked the course’s emphasis on self-directed learning, which I’d enjoyed in my education previously.

How are you finding the course so far?

It’s very busy and I do feel challenged – but in a good way! There’s a good stepwise progression between each year of the course, ensuring you develop your academic knowledge, confidence and responsibilities.

Can you explain how the case-based learning works?

We meet up as a group – there’s eight of us – and we’re presented with a case. So, for example, we’re told someone’s been in a road accident and come in with a head injury. We’re given a brief history and, as a group, we go over how to progress with the examination and management of that patient. We discuss the lectures we’ve had that week, because usually the case is related to the topic we’ve just been learning about. We split up the work and then come back together for the next session and present on that topic, so not only is it good revision of the curriculum but it’s great for improving teaching and presentation skills. We met twice per week in first year and have been meeting once a fortnight since second year.

How have you found going into clinic?

At first it was slightly daunting, but there’s a lot of support available and you just have to ask for help if you need it. We learn a lot through bedside teaching, which is where we take a patient’s general history, perform an examination and report back to the clinician about what we think could be going on. This helps us practise and develop our clinical and problem-solving skills. We go into clinic in pairs, which gives us the opportunity to feed back on each other’s work too.

What do you enjoy most about the course?

I particularly enjoy the extracurricular side of my course. I’m involved in the Surgical Society, and we put on a number of events. I actually put on a course recently on ‘Recognising the acutely ill patient’. Organising events like this involves getting the teachers together and networking and it’s very fulfilling – it can be great for helping you to decide what you might want to focus on in future.

Which skills do you think you’re developing?

I think communication skills are key– Warwick medical students seem to have a reputation for being really good communicators, possibly due to the fact we're mature students on a graduate-entry course. Through the case-based learning there’s a big emphasis on developing teamwork and leadership skills, both of which are crucial for our future careers. Working within a team at hospital during our specialist rotations helps develop our skills even further.

What are your future plans?

I’m planning to apply to the Academic Foundation Programme, which is two years long, like the standard Foundation Programme, but one of your rotations is spent on research. It’s a competitive programme and I’m keen to do it because I find research in medicine really interesting. After the foundation programme, I’m hoping to apply for a surgical post.