Lucy Diss writes about a week in her first term at Brighton
and Sussex Medical School.
A breezy two-minute cycle ride with my house
mate from Lancaster House on the Sussex campus to the Medical
School that really wakes you up on a Monday morning! First thing is
an anatomy lecture with Professor Evans on the Body’s Muscles:
skeletal, cardiac, smooth. The lecture is one of my favourites as
I’m really interested in the muscular system as well as the
muscular degenerative diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
I particularly enjoy anatomy lectures because, being a visual
learner, I benefit from the PowerPoint presentations which are full
of images. Quizzes using different coloured card in which to answer
the questions really help test your knowledge and show what you’ve
I change into tracksuit bottoms, ready for Aerobatone – an
aerobics class held at the Sussex sports centre. After returning
home just after 6pm, I printed off my lectures for tomorrow, dished
up some stir fry-goodnesswith sweet potato and chilled with my
housemates in my room.
This morning is spent on the Brighton campus in the newly built
Checkland Building. A group of us living on the Sussex campus took
the free bus from the top of my road which comes every five minutes
and takes only a couple of minutes to get to the other campus!
Lectures on communication skills are very important for becoming a
doctor and closely follow the guidelines of the GMC in
Tomorrow’s Doctors – 80% of patient complaints are because
of lack of communication skills! A coffee break at the café is a life saver followed
by seminar groups where we discussed good and bad ways of
communication essential in taking patient histories.
In the afternoon, we visited the GP surgery in
Hove in pairs where we observed the GP and her consultations with
patients; learning about different skin conditions and trapped
nerves within the neck. One patient came in especially to talk to
us about his experience of coping with mouth cancer and explained
how he had to have a skin graft removed from his inner arm to
replace part of the tongue cut out in the operation. It was a
We also practised taking a history on a
patient with guidance from the GP which was great experience and
hands-on practise. I was very nervous at first but afterwards found
the more patient contact I got used to, the more it boosted my
We also accompanied a health care visitor on a home visit with
to a 13-day-old baby girl – she was adorable! We learnt about
themother’s experience of pregnancy and giving birth.
Exhausted from travelling, I had a huge bowl of tomato and
mozzarella pasta and met some of the medics at the bus stop. We
went to the Audrey Emerton Building in Brighton, which shows films
and lectures on medical related topics aiming to encourage you to
look ‘outside the box’ of your medicine degree.
A small lie-in and then on
the bus to meet over on the Brighton campus with our academic tutor
who monitors our progress and is there to support us. They are
happy to answer any queries. The module – Academic Skills – aims to
ensure that medical students have the numerical, written and oral
communication, independent study skills etc required by the GMC in
Tomorrow’s Doctors. The meeting today prepared us for
tutorial essay on the health effects of climate change and if our
essays were good enough, we had the opportunity to get it published
in the BMJ.
The afternoon is free every
week to partake in BSMS sports teams! I go to the netball training
on the Sussex sports grounds and enjoy socialising with all the
Wednesday night is the BSMS
sports social! We dress up and head off into Brighton along the
North Lanes in the pubs and bars and end up in the Oceana enjoying
the cheap student priced drinks and the hectic dance floor of the
Physiology lecture on Cell Physiology of Ions – the subject in
which I find the most challenging. There is plenty of help with
extra reading and exam practice and the lecturers are always
available to answer any queries. One medic friend was able to help
me understand some theories as he had covered it in his first
degree. Everyone tends to help each other and it feels like a
Yoga at the gym for a cool down and complete the online tests to
consolidate my knowledge on today’s lectures.
My first cadaver dissection this afternoon!
Professor Evans demonstrated a previous dissection of the thorax on
a video at the front of the class which also reviewed the anatomy
we need to distinguish in our own cadaver. My heart started to
palpate as I lifted the cover off the body but further into the
session I become more comfortable. After removing the fat with
forceps in a blunt dissection, another two medical students
in our group on the table took to the blade and dissected a muscle
in the thorax, the pectoralis major. I really appreciated how well
designed the body is and the huge extent of gift this person gave
in donating her body.
My housemates and I went into Brighton town to
do our weekly shopping in Sainsbury’s with my recycling elephant
bag! Later on that evening, we had a kitchen gathering with a
couple of drinks to celebrate the weekend. Many go home on Saturday
to visit family, friends and boyfriends/girlfriends, so the
campus is generally quiet but is ideal for a relaxing couple of
(We acknowledge the support of
Brighton and Sussex Medical School for supplying this