“A unique insight into a career in medicine”

By Bethany Harwood

This day was aimed at students who are considering a career in medicine and especially a better understanding of who anaesthetists are and what they do.

The day started with a welcome lecture delivered by Dr Brendan McGrath from Manchester. He went through how to choose a medical school. He expressed that making a criteria that fits you was the best way to choose a university to study at as the courses are mostly the same. The hospital week of an anaesthetist would typically be around 56 hours per week with a typical day being 8-5. Work can include outpatient clinics, theatre sessions or lists, ward rounds and teaching or research. There will be constant exams in any role in medicine to show development and make sure that knowledge is constantly up to date.
Anaesthesia allowed more complex surgery to be performed as it allowed the patient to be put to sleep so that they didn’t feel pain. The moto for anaesthesia is “safety and sleep” which is very relevant to the role of anaesthetics. Skills that are needed to be a successful anaesthetist are communication skills, problem solving skills, working under pressure to give the patient the best chances and working in a team.

Next there was a “Getting into studying medicine” lecture which was given by Professor Mahesh Nirmalan who works in the University of Manchester and also helps in the interview process. He said that in medicine you need to constantly prove you should be a doctor, that you are motivated and that you are able to help out with research which would be useful throughout the world. Diagnostic skills are key to being successful as this is key to being able to save a life. He emphasised how challenging the job is emotionally as you will at times have to decide who to prioritise and therefore who is given the best chance to live. This then also provides ethical challenges.



  1. Influence other lives
  2. Rewarding
  3. Reasonable job security
  4. Reasonable financial security


  1. Reward is conditional
  2. Motivation
  3. Desensitisation (get used to death and suffering)
  4. ? job security
  5. ? financial security

What should you do to get into university?

  • Genuine interest
  • Good grades (at least 3 A’s)
  • Workexperience in a caring environment
  • Ability to explain what you do in simple answers and language
  • Hospital experience – influences and ethics
  • draw from experiences

In interviews you should always give genuine reasons and don’t prepare ever answer as the interviewers want to know what you think and they can tell when an answer is too prepared. They want to get to know you, not your prepared answer. Always make sure you have interview practice before.

Resuscitation workshop

In the resuscitation workshop we learnt how to do CPR and the importance of being able to do it and the steps to take if somebody collapses. They used a virtual stimulator to give us a scenario and we had to decide what the best course of action would to be.

Airway management workshop

In the airway management workshop, we learnt about how anaesthetists control the airways of patients who need help breathing. This was a hands on workshop where we were able to use the dummies and practise making sure we put the tubes into the lung and not the stomach.

Intensive care unit workshop

We were taught about what the role of an anaesthetist in an intensive care unit. We went through different scenarios with the heart rate increasing and decreasing and oxygen levels decreasing. We looked at using the ultra sound machine for looking at the movement of the heart and how to see it on the machine through the ribs.

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