John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile nineteen

I am an 18 year old student from Liverpool who has just finished studying for A Levels and is preparing to go to university to study Medicine.

Over the past few years I have spent a lot of my time preparing for my chosen career in Medicine. I have found the time to volunteer at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and for the British Red Cross. Volunteering has confirmed to me that Medicine, as a people focused career, is what I wanted to do. I get a lot out of helping others in difficult circumstances, and meeting a wide range of different people which is why I continue to volunteer. It has also allowed me to learn a lot about myself and I feel it has developed me as a person, increasing my social awareness and interpersonal skills.

Undoubtedly, getting into medical school is very hard for any applicant, with the typical number of applicants per place being ten and above. Being the first in my family to consider higher education and furthermore to consider medicine made me feel quite anxious at first and lose confidence in my ability. However, keeping the idea of my future career in mind I rose to the challenge and, in all honesty, I can now say that the last two years have been the most fulfilling for me academically.

I have just finished studying for A Levels in Biology Chemistry, Physics and General Studies and achieved grade A in all four subjects.  I was fortunate enough to gain offers from three medical schools and have chosen to go to St Andrews University. The decision to select St Andrews medical school was a no-brainer for me. Being a traditional course, I will spend three years studying for a ‘pre clinical’ Bsc degree in medicine and then study an extra three years at the University of Manchester (clinical) where I will graduate with the MB ChB (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree which will qualify me to practice as a doctor. The advantage of this set up for me is that there is an extra year compared to other medical courses which will allow more time to study the science I love. Being able to study for a BSc degree, as well, means that I will be doing a research dissertation which really appeals to me. St Andrews really is a beautiful place, everything is within walking distance and it is the 3rd oldest university in the world. When attending for interview I felt a strong affinity for the town, and decided there and then that it was for me.

After getting my place at university, I began to realize that life as a medical student will be hard: without the ability to get a job (due to workload) and with the prospect of not much financial support, I was bound to struggle. This concern was heightened by the fact that I was moving almost three hundred  miles away from home.  A teacher at my school told me about The John Moran Educational Trust. I was anxious before interview because I didn’t know what to expect from the trustees.  However, as soon as I walked into the interview room, the trustees put me at ease and made me feel very welcome. I can’t thank them enough for their kind, welcoming approach and for giving me this award. This really will ease the financial pressure on me as a student and allow me to focus on my studies and enjoy university life.

I have just finished my first year studying Medicine and am now on my summer vacation.
Before moving away from home I was very nervous. The distance away from home was scary, as was the prospect of being potentially alone in a strange place knowing no one. When I arrived all of these feeling dissipated immediately.

I have never made so many new friends in such a short time as I have in my first year at university. I now promote the idea of moving away from home to students I speak to because I really love it. In all honesty, I now feel more at home at university than I do at home!

My first year seems to have gone very quickly. However, I feel it has been the most productive year of my life to date. Although Medicine is very intense, I love it! This year I have learnt general principles about the science that underpins Medicine as well as an in depth study of the musculoskeletal system in second semester. I am looking forward to next year when I will study the Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal and Reproductive systems.

Whilst the course is undoubtedly demanding in terms of workload, I have found time to get really involved in university life. I have become Vice president of the First Aid Society, fundraiser for a charity society called Medsin and Secretary of my Hall Committee.  These positions will run until the end of my second year, meaning that I am going to be a very busy bee in second year! Other than Medicine related things, I have found the time to regularly go swimming and spend a lot of time with my friends!
The John Moran Trust has helped to ease the financial pressure on me and I am ever so grateful to the charity for their help.

My second year studying has been a lot more challenging than anything I have ever done before.   Second year is well known for being the most intense for my course! But I am through and feel very happy about that. I am really enjoying my course. I have (just!) managed to balance my studies over the past year with being heavily involved with my Hall committee. This has seen me organising events, fundraising and lots of other things. I am now the head of the committee for next year. With 11 other committee members to work with this puts me in quite a responsible role but I am looking forward to the challenges and am already starting to cherish the learning opportunities the role provides. The committee has around £25000 budget from the University and is given a lot of responsibility in terms of improving ‘student experience’ so my work is cut out for me (and my team) for the next year!

During my second year, I also embarked upon a long process of formal and informal assessments while training to become a Red Cross First Aid Trainer. Recently (early in the summer) I passed my final assessments and am now a fully fledged Trainer/Assessor. I have been working with the red Cross for a good few years but now that I am a trainer I would never go back – I just love it; I feel like I have found a real passion and now enjoy teaching public and internal courses for the Red Cross, as a volunteer.

The past year has seen me struggle financially more than my first year – this must be due to the recession and increased prices. But I get by, and of course appreciate the help from the Trust greatly.

My third year has been great fun and at the same time the most challenging of all my years at university, to date. The modules we have covered this year have been a lot more complex in terms of their content than previous modules and I have to admit, at times I did struggle to keep on top of the workload! But I guess that’s all something to put down to experience.

I am now looking forward to starting my clinical training. Clinical training will be very different in that there will be very few, if any, lectures and teaching will be mainly ward based. I am very excited about this as I will hopefully be able to see the clinical relevance of the theory I’ve been learning over the past few years and apply it directly to real patients on the wards. In order to complete my clinical training I will now be moving from St Andrews to Manchester where I will spend the majority of my time at hospital and in GP practices, gaining more of the 'hands on knowledge and skills to progress to qualify as a doctor. I am half way there now which feels quite strange to be honest! Time seems to have flown by. A lot of people ask me what I want to do when I qualify and to be completely honest I don't know. Being involved in Medical Education is something that is really appealing to me at the moment - I really enjoy teaching others. Obviously this would come with time after a number of years of clinical practice but my perfect plan would be to be able to teach medicine in the future!

The continuing support I receive from the John Moran Trust to assist me on my journey to becoming a doctor, is really appreciated.

Moving from pre- clinical years was quite an eventful transition. In my second week of the three week introduction to clinical studies I was in the Accident and Emergency Resuscitation room and performed basic life support (compressions and ventilations) on patients which was a very good experience. I have been based on the wards all year in a wide variety of medical areas as well as placements in the community.

The practicalities of moving down to Manchester were quite straight forward. Everyone in St Andrews got to know everyone else who was going to Manchester through the lecture sessions we had introducing us to the Manchester course. Plus, the vast majority of us were going to Manchester anyway. Everyone was keen to set up groups of houses of St Andrews medics to live with in Manchester and most people (including us) went down to Manchester around April time with their respective group in order to find accommodation. Accommodation in Manchester is infinitely easier to find than in St Andrews. In fact, there are generally more houses than students so it is a consumers’ market! I managed to find a group of friends to move in with which was very nice and eased the transition. I do know some people did apply for places in halls in Manchester (which tend to be a little more expensive than sharing a house) and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

I found that moving into hospital training in clinical years was quite different to pre- clinical years. Although we had a lot of lectures in the first couple of weeks, the year group based at your hospital only meets all together occasionally for lectures etc. Being on the wards means you are attached to "clinical firms" which involves around four students, a consultant and the junior doctors and specialist trainees. Each firm lasts seven weeks in third year - for example seven weeks cardiology, then seven weeks Gastroenterology. I found that it was really easy to mix with Manchester students and make new friends. Whilst the St Andrews students are all moving into something different, so are the Manchester students in our year as they are starting their clinical training at the same time as us and with Manchester being so big, they often don't even know each other that well anyway!

Reflecting on my choice to take the St Andrews-Manchester route, I would definitely recommend it. Having done the three years in St Andrews and then joining into year three of five of the Manchester course and starting clinical years, we St Andrews students have already learnt all of the clinical examination skills. The Manchester students hadn't learnt these skills yet and so I feel this made it easier for me to pick up on clinical signs and pathologies from the start as I already knew the "routine" of the examinations. This being said, we had studied for an extra year compared to the Manchester students so our course was able to fit in more clinical skills, and the Manchester students do level out with St Andrews students quickly in terms of their skills and knowledge.

Our three year course at St Andrews also taught us anatomy and physiology in a different way to the Manchester course. During their first two years Manchester students learn pre -clinical medicine (anatomy, physiology, pathology etc.) through problem based learning (PBL) whereas at St Andrews we learnt this mainly via lectures. I feel that having the pre- clinical teaching delivered via traditional lectures etc. was more suited to me and gave me a good base of knowledge before starting in hospitals. I would recommend that anyone applying to medicine consider strongly which learning method may be more suited to them (it is a big talking point in medical interviews as well!)

This last year has really put all of the previous years into perspective and confirmed to me that I have chosen a profession I love. I feel like I have learnt more this year than all of my previous years put together in terms of clinical medicine, that I can relate to patients, making diagnoses etc. roll on next year!

Each year I say the same thing - that I have learnt the most in the past year, and that the past year has been the most challenging.  I do need to say it again though!  During the past year, I have rotated through 5 different medical specialties including Paediatrics, Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  I have enjoyed this year more than previous ones because being a more senior medical student has meant an increased amount of responsibility on the wards, which provides greater learning opportunities and has helped to make me feel more like a doctor.  I particularly enjoyed my obstetrics placement because this aspect of medicine is quite different to others – to a large extent you are dealing with patients who are otherwise healthy and it involves the gift of new life which is just amazing! Being able to participate in the birth process is a very special thing and is at times very emotional!

The practical aspect of the course this year (attending placements) has been very intense, with every day spent on the ward and equally the exams have increased in frequency and intensity.  It has been the most challenging year of my life so far, but has brought the greatest amount of variety and stimulation.  For example, during one placement I may be interviewing a patient suffering from psychosis and the next, interviewing and examining an unwell child on the children’s ward, and then the next week I find myself examining the hands of someone with rheumatoid arthritis!

As well as the 'ward side' of the course, I have also found myself more active than ever outside of the course.  Along with three other medical students I developed a peer assisted learning program at my base hospital.  We were very pleased to discover that we had won first prize for this scheme in the University Team Working awards. We have been accepted to present this work orally, to academics and clinicians, at a national Medical Education Conference.  In addition, I have completed a number of audit projects and have had the chance to work in some very interesting environments for short 'Student Selected component' (SSC) placements.  This included a stint working with Greater Manchester Police providing primary care and forensic examinations to detainees in custody.  A separate SSC involved developing a teaching program for junior medical students.  At present, I am very interested in medical education and can picture myself making this a significant part of my future career. 

The next year of my course is the last one in which I will rotate through a variety of placements in preparation for practice as a doctor.  I am excited for the experiences it will bring, anxious about final exams in January, but most of all am starting to realise that being a doctor is now very, very close!

Final year of medical school went well. I spent pre- Christmas preparing for the most challenging and pinnacle exams of my life to date. Lots of sleepless nights and drinking red bull and practicing skills with friends I did my final 16 station practical assessment (OSCE) where I faced scrutiny from senior doctors and consultants on my ability to assess manage, prescribe for and communicate with patients.
When I found out I passed I was thrilled! The final months of medical school I spent gaining experience in forensic psychiatry in HMP Manchester, rather than going on elective anywhere exotic like my friends. It was a great choice. Mental and physical illness is rife in the prison population and patients often present with conditions in more advanced stages providing diagnostic and treatment challenge. The environment is also very challenging - a challenge I enjoyed. I could see myself being fulfilled working in a criminal justice environment in the future.

I started work in August as a junior doctor in Urology at Manchester busiest hospital (MRI). The first month or so was probably the most stressful of my life. Feeling uncertain, not knowing how anything works, managing acutely I'll patients. There was always senior help available which was good. I feel over the past couple of months I have learnt an indescribable amount of medicine, and feel less of a fraud when calling myself doctor! The hours are hard and the government is hell bent on attacking my profession but I feel all my hard work was worth it. I come home most days feeling that I have made a difference to people’s lives. I'd like to extend a massive thank you to the trust for providing support to help get me where I am.