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Katie BrillWhat year did you graduate?     

I graduated in 2018 from St Georges having done graduate entry medicine.  

What is your current role?   

I am currently an F2 working in ICU at a busy hospital in Birmingham, and in August will remain here to start my Acute Critical Care Emergency Medicine specialty training. 

How did you get into your current role?    

I chose a foundation job in a hospital with excellent training and a variety of jobs that I thought would give me a good experience base for the emergency department and other specialities I was interested in, and I have been kept in ICU for coronavirus, having had an excellent 8 months here. 

Can you describe a typical day?   

A typical day for me at present will be a 12 hour shift in intensive care, where I will present patients on a ward round, then spend the day doing jobs such as inserting vascular access under ultrasound or having discussions over the phone with families. When I have some down time at work I like to brush up on my ICU knowledge or work on an audit, and the department provides regular teaching. Often in the afternoon I will meet with F1s, and before lockdown I would meet with medical students, to either do teaching or provide mentorship and wellbeing support. When I go home, I might study for my emergency medicine exams, but I tend to save that for my days off and put my feet up. 

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

I enjoy my job because we get a lot of training and get to use our skills quite regularly. Many of my colleagues are doing training in the department, learning how to perform echocardiograms as an extra skill, and I regularly get to use ultrasound. I perform a wide variety of procedures I have learned in previous job roles, such as inserting drains, lumbar punctures, and with the team of intensivists and anaesthetists, I have developed some airway skills and become familiar with ventilated patients, something unique to intensive care. 

What is the most challenging thing about your current role?  

It is challenging to be looking after the most unwell patient cohort, and much of the knowledge required for intensive care is best learned on the job, although my time at St Georges, especially in my final year, gave me an excellent grounding in Intensive care medicine, which I also spent 5 weeks on as part of my final student selected component. 

What advice would you give to a current student at St George’s who is keen to get into a similar area of work as you?   

My advice to any student looking to apply to any foundation role or training programme is to look at what training is like in the hospitals you apply to, as in all 5 of my foundation jobs I have been given ample training and opportunity, whereas similar jobs in other hospitals have given their trainees more lecture time but less independence, or a more specialist cohort of patients resulting in a narrower knowledge base. If you know what job you would like to end up in, that doesn’t need to be part of your training programme- I did not do an ED job in my foundation training because a taster week is worth the same as a 4 month block, but I had other skills I wanted to develop further and fields I wanted to spend time in. 

My medical degree was excellent for starting a foundation programme: the final year assistant house officership roles in GP, surgery and medicine meant I was comfortable in my role as a new F1- do take the opportunity to do on-calls and night shifts in preparation for the real world.  

Which aspects of your degree are relevant for your current role?   

St Georges gave exposure to specialties that many of my colleagues did not get to experience; having so many specialities under one roof and the anaesthetic block which has been removed from many other degrees, plus having societies in medical fields such as the prehospital care society, make St Georges uniquely well placed to provide a well-rounded exposure to almost all fields. 

Do you have any advice or a message for current students at St George’s?  

My advice to current students in to engage in as much of what St Georges can offer as possible: the societies and facilities, the excellent departments that allow you to explore your potential interests, the thorough guidance through applications and training are invaluable. Most importantly, do engage with the services that St Georges provide if needed: they have a fantastic wellbeing and pastoral care department, if you think you have extra educational requirements then engage early, make the most of your tutors and if there is something you feel is missing from your training- ask! 

Do you have any advice or a message for students considering studying at St George’s? 

For students considering studying at St Georges; I have the benefit of hearing how others felt about their medical degrees, and also having studied at a different university for my undergraduate degree, I can say St Georges is like nowhere else. It cannot be overstated how wonderful studying in a hospital, with everybody at the university doing a health sciences degree, is. The social side is unique, everybody is in a more apprenticeship style degree so it is a very respectful atmosphere given the longer hours and amount of work that a healthcare degree entails compared to many other degrees. The old age work hard play hard holds true as well, and the societies were very active and vibrant. There is nowhere else like this, and as a result, the medical degree produces not just excellent medical students, but excellent doctors. I can say without a doubt I felt far more prepared for my foundation programme than my colleagues, and other George’s graduates have said the same to me. Being able to hit the ground running means I could focus on the next step forwards and gave me the space to not just survive, but thrive in my training. 


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