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Susanna Kallioinen

SusannaYear: Second (At time of interview: February 2017)

Hometown: Porvoo, Finland

Education: BSc (Hons) in Biomolecular Sciences, MPhil in cancer gene therapy and PhD in molecular biology of cancer
What work experience had you gained before coming here?

After finishing my PhD I started working in clinical research as a clinical trials coordinator. This involved working with research nurses and consultants on clinical trials. I chose to work in clinical trials because during my PhD I'd decided I wanted to do something more closely related to people, rather then just spend all my time in the lab.

When I started working in clinical research, it became very clear to me that to become more involved in research, it would be better to be a medical doctor. After pondering this for a while, I decided to apply to medical school. Since starting the course, it's become obvious that this was the right choice for me, and I'm enjoying working with patients and learning medicine.

Why did you choose Warwick?

Me and my partner moved to the UK as my partner got a job at the University of Warwick. I started work at the University of Birmingham and later moved to work at Warwick too. It felt natural to apply to the local medical school, as this was a graduate entry course and had been recommended to me by consultants in Birmingham.

How are you finding the MB ChB so far?

I like studying medicine, but it has been hard. The pace on the course is fast. Clinical experiences have been good but they can be challenging as well, as it's a very different way of learning - you're put on the spot a lot and asked questions all the time. But I enjoy learning how to diagnose and manage patients, and it's easier to remember things if you’ve seen them in the real world.

What do you particularly like about your course?

I like the early exposure we get to the clinical world. From the first few months you start seeing patients in the community and, a bit later on, in the hospital. This brings context to what you learn at lectures and makes remembering things easier.

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

I'm involved in the Careers Society and Warwick Academic Medicine Society, as well as taking part in events with different societies and teaching. There are a lot of opportunities to do extracurricular things here and the students are very active. There's good peer support as well from other students.

Do you have any idea at this stage what you’d like to focus on in the future?

At the moment I'm interested in radiology as a career, but as I've only recently started in core clinical education I might still change my mind.

Do you have any advice for people considering applying?

Make sure it’s really what you want to do as studying medicine is hard and you have to be very self-reliant and self-motivated.