Jozel Ramirez

Jozel Ramirez

How is the medicine course taught at St Georges?

For the MBBS4 course, your first year will be mostly focus on building your knowledge on anatomy, physiology and clinical skills. In your second year, you alternate between blocks of teaching (lectures and problem-based learning), clinical placements in medicine, surgery and GP. 

I feel that this has suited me as it has given me time to gradually adjust before starting full-time clinical placements in. Fourth year is the final year, where placements and exams continue as well as preparing for the working world as a junior doctor.

What is problem-based learning (PBL) and how has this impacted on your learning?

PBL is problem based learning which we have in our transition year. It involves a group of students and a facilitator where we meet twice a week and discuss a clinical case that complements lectures and clinical teaching we have during the week. It is very student-led.

We discuss and make decisions about managing our patient in the case which I feel helps students work in a team and think like a doctor.

How has learning anatomy through pro-section affected your learning?

I have always found anatomy to be very interesting and it has been a great opportunity to learn using cadavers. It makes you see that each body is unique and how intricate and well-constructed the human body really is.

In many cases, we are also able to actually see the change that takes place in various organs when it gets affected by disease. It is definitely a great way to solidify the physiology and clinical teaching we get during the course.

What was the most surprising element of your course or St George’s?

The amount of practical procedures, skills and patient interaction we can do even as medical students.

Tell us about your placements studying medicine.

We properly start having blocks of clinical placement during our transition year, where we alternate between five weeks of placement and five weeks of teaching at the university. We get exposed to both primary care in GP as well as secondary care during medicine and surgery placements.

P-year is placement-heavy with only a few weeks of lectures. We continue our exposure to general medicine and surgery, but also go into specialities like paediatrics, neurology and psychiatry. We continue having more placement-based learning in our final year.

Throughout the course, we get exposed to varied clinical settings, not just GP centres and hospitals across the South Thames region. We also attend community visits, rehabilitation centres and specialist units to widen our understanding of how the NHS works.

I have enjoyed my clinical placements overall. Some days may be more physically or emotionally difficult that others, but learning during placement has been invaluable.

We get to work with doctors of different specialities and you feel like you are part of the team. Hearing stories from patients living with a disease has been a privilege and has given me insight into diseases that you cannot learn by simply reading a textbook.

Learning from placement and seeing things in real-life is definitely a very useful tool not only for exams but also for preparing to be junior doctors.

When we learn clinical skills in medical school, for example when taking bloods or inserting a cannula, we usually start with models in the clinical skills lab. During my first clinical year, doing these jobs had sometimes proved difficult as people are not the same as plastic models.

Some days I don’t manage to successfully perform these skills at all and it can be quite disheartening. However, the kind words that I have had from doctors and nurses in the ward have been very encouraging, and many of them also take their time to teach and supervise us which has been very helpful for me.

What is a highlight of studying in London?

The most amazing thing about London is that there is always something new to experience – whether it’s food, things to do or places to visit.

The convenience of being able to get to places so easily by living somewhere so well-connected is something I appreciate a lot, having previously lived in the countryside. And of course, meeting new people and making friends coming from different parts of world has been a great experience.

If you had to sum up studying at St George’s in three words, what would they be and why?

Diverse, inspiring and home. 

What’s it like studying in Tooting and London?

Studying and living in Tooting has been a great experience. I have met people from different walks of life, tried amazing food from different cultures and have very good access to central London.

The public transport in London has been very convenient and an affordable means to get to places especially for students. There is also always something new and exciting going on in London no matter what time of day, and I am really glad to be living in such an amazing city.

How does our focus on the health and medical sciences impact your studies, studying only with other health focused students?

Being at a university with only health and medical courses means you are surrounded by like-minded people. Most of the time there is always something to talk about and you can share your knowledge as you study very similar topics. 

It also helps to be studying the same thing as you can easily get advice or extra input on topics that you may not feel as confident about comapred to other people. 

What’s the student union like? How does the SU support you in your studies?

The Student Union at St George's is a good place to have your concerns heard, as they are also students that can relate to the same provlems. 

The SU bar is a good good place to relax in between lectures and get to know people. The SU itself has done a good job at promoting a vast amount of extra-curricular activities like sports, art productions and community projects to make sure students get a good work-life balance during their time here. 

Are you a member of any societies? If so, which ones and what do you do?

I am currently a committee member of St George’s Surgical Society. They organise events that aim to support students who want to pursue a career in surgery, for example talks from surgeons of different specialities, suturing workshops and anatomy competitions.

I am also a dancer in the 'Fashion Show', the biggest dance show at the university. It has been a good way for me to unwind when studies get stressful as I am doing something I love. I have also met students from various years and courses whilst preparing for the show and feel like I am part of a family. 

How does the student-parent system work and how has it affected your study?

The student parent system allocates a first year student to someone in the year above them who acts as their ‘parent’ during their time at St. George’s. You will then become part of a ‘family’ where you may have brothers, sisters and even grandparents.

I personally found this system very useful as my 'parent' provided me with great advice on how to effectively study and deal with the stress of university, especially during my first year. It also gave me a chance to be a part of a ‘family’ where I have made really good and supportive friends.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2017 12:02