Doctors to Work Programme
There is a national problem in attracting doctors to work in remote rural areas such as the Highlands. To address this issue NHS Highland launched its “Doctors to Work” programme, giving young people interested in a career in medicine a taste of life in a busy hospital. S6 pupils from across the Highlands successfully applied to take part in the programme, allowing them to spend a week at Raigmore Hospital here in Inverness.
The pupils shadowed consultants, junior doctors, and other staff at work. S6 Charleston Academy pupil George Ashton took part in the programme and was then invited by NHS Highland Board to make a presentation about his experience of the programme and how he felt his participation in it would benefit his career.
I spent time in the hospital laboratories where I learnt about the scientific processes underpinning the diagnosis and management of disease.
It was fascinating to see the variety of skills needed: from the hands- on practicalities of pathology to the automated complex machinery in blood sciences. I observed the importance of teamwork and time management in order to produce rapid but accurate results emphasising the crucial role laboratories play in medicine.
Observing a surgeon take a history in order to obtain a diagnosis was also fascinating, highlighting the need for good communication skills.
Later, I watched an orthopaedic surgeon carrying out a hip replacement operation emphasising the importance of leadership and teamwork. The calm confidence and technical skill displayed by a cardiologist during a catheterisation procedure was inspirational.
During a ward round. I was impressed when the consultant knelt down by the patient’s chair as they talked to them. Being able to sit in on a MDT meeting highlighted the value of teamwork and good communication in order to make the correct management decision for the patient. Speaking to students and doctors during the programme provided a significant insight into their training and experiences, including the physical and emotional pressures of the job. I now have a greater understanding of the wide range of specialties in medicine and the wider health care team involved in patient care.
The successful Doctors at Work programme is run in partnership with our Guidance teachers. The NHS hope to double the number of students participating in 2013, with the programme running in June and September. This year students will also be able to spend time working with local GPs.
To find out more, speak to your Guidance teacher in school. Alternatively email Karen Murray at NHS Highland.A version of this article originally appeared in the January 2013 edition of NHS Highland NEWS