Virtual Shadowing 🩺
DWAMSS hopes the resources will give you an idea as to what studying Medicine involves, how it is medical students are taught, and hopefully aid concrete you ambition to pursue Medicine as your career. Each year will take you on average 60 to 90 minutes to complete, with the ability to take breaks and come back to it if needed, with it anticipated to take six to eight hours to complete all five virtual shadowing experiences.
At the start of virtual experiences, you will be introduced to the medical student you’re virtually shadowing for that day and your lecturer for that specific year will also welcome you before you get started. There will be lots of interaction and questions along the way, so make sure to take some notes!
Overview of Virtual Shadowing
Years one, two and three will take you through the respiratory system (the lungs), Orthopaedics (bones) and Psychiatry (mental health). During these first three years, you will attend lectures, workshops, clinical and/or communication skill sessions. You will learn about some common diagnoses, such as asthma and depression. In addition, you will learn some clinical examination skills, such as how Doctors examine a patient’s lungs, and also some communications skill techniques, such as how Doctors assess a patients pain.
Year four will take you into General Practice, where you will use some of what you learned in first to third year to help assess some patients. Here, you will begin to learn that patients are not simply symptoms and a diagnosis, but people with lives and experiences! One of the biggest parts of being a Doctor is listening, and you will certainly need to listen closely during your year four virtual shadowing experience.
Year five will have you again drawing on experience from your first three years, in addition to learning some more advanced practical skills; you will be a professional before even starting Medical School!
Altogether, we hope your virtual shadowing experiences will not only be informative, but also enjoyable as you will be able to virtually immerse yourself in medical school life. It will also provide an experience, should you go on to apply to medical school, that you can discuss in your personal statement and at your interview.
Shadowing a Year 1 Medical Student
During your first year experience, you will be shadowing Isabel Gartner. You will spend the whole day with Isabel, working together along the way.
At the beginning of each day, you are welcomed by your lecturer; in first year, your lecturer is Joelle. Your lecturer will be visible throughout your entire lecture, which this morning is going to be covering the simple anatomy and physiology of the respiratory tract (our lungs), and how the common condition Asthma effects the respiratory tract. Questions will be asked along the way and we recommend you take some notes as they may be helpful later in the day.
Next, you and Isabel will head down to clinical skills where you will both be learning how Doctors assess a patient’s pain, and also how Doctors examines a patient’s lungs. You will meet two simulated patients, one who you will take a history from to find out about their pain, and another who requires a respiratory examination, which Isabel will demonstrate for you.
Just like in medical school, if the didn’t catch what the patient said, you will be able to go back and listen to the patient, just as we would do as medical students. This will be crucial as there will be questions to answer along the way!
Shadowing a Year 2 Medical Student
In year two, you will be spending the day with Heather Kennedy, who is currently on their orthopaedic block (bones and joints). Heather has a lecture, workshop and clinical skills session ahead of her today, and you will be joining her too.
Your lecture will be delivered by Sara and will cover our skeletal system. This will be vital to pay attention to as your workshop straight after will be covering fractures! Sara will be asking you and Heather lots of questions throughout, so make sure to try your best.
Like first year, you will next head to the clinical skills department where you be learning how Doctors assess suddenly unwell patients using what we call the ABCDE approach.
Shadowing a Year 3 Medical Student
Year three will see you introduce to Kayode Oki, who is currently on his Psychiatry block. Yourself and Kayode will be learning about a common Psychiatric diagnosis and also how Psychiatrists assess Psychiatry patients.
Your lecturer for third year is Aaron. Aaron will be talking to you and Kayode about depression. Like second year, you will then be heading to a workshop. Sadly, mental health can still be associated with stigma, and as Doctors it is important, we understand things like stigma and how this can affect our patients. Therefore, yourself and Kayode will be having a think about the stigma which at times can be associated with mental health, why it still exists, and how you can combat it.
Later, you and Kayode will be working with a consultant Psychiatrist. She will be taking a history from a simulated patient and it will be your job to help Kayode assess the patient and to listen closely to why they have come and asked for help.
Shadowing a Year 4 Medical Student
Year four is where you will meet Sophie Marriott. Fourth and fifth year of medical school is different to first to third, as you leave the lecture theatres behind and head to clinical practice! You will be shadowing Sophie during her General Practice placement, where she has patients to see.
Like in medical school, you will have to draw on what you learnt in first to third year to help your patients. You will learn that patients are not simply symptoms, but people with lives and lived experiences. Understanding patients as people is key to ensuring we can help them and is a key thing medical students learn in General Practice. It does mean you will need to listen to your patient closely, however, to make sure you and Sophie don’t miss any crucial information.
Shadowing a Year 5 Medical Student
Year five will have you learning more advanced practical skills as you shadow Callum Livingstone during his anaesthetics block. Anaesthetists have many roles in a hospital, including anaesthetising a patient and supporting them through operations, managing the sickest patients in the hospital in an intensive care unit, and also helping patients who have complex pain that other Doctors are struggling to treat.
Again, You and Callum will need to draw on experiences from first to third year as you will be learning all about patients’ airways and what we as Doctors can do to help a patient’s airway. The Anaesthetist leading the session will keep you and Callum on your feet with questions along the way, so make sure to listen closely.