What is a Stethoscope Stereotype?
This is a new series interviewing medical students from a variety of backgrounds, they are sharing their experiences of applications, expectations and advice for anyone thinking that they want to apply for medical school. This is further proof that you do not need to fit the stethoscope stereotype; despite not fitting into the normal parameterts these students will be some of the most successful doctors of their generation.
Introduce yourself, who you are, what year are you in and where do you study?
My name is Rosie Cleere a.k.a The Female Medic. I am a second year medical student at Warwick University studying on the Graduate Entry course. At uni I am the Welfare/Wellbeing Lead for MEDSOC, a teacher for the Non-Science Group, a member of the Residential Life Team and a blogger for the University Study Blog. Outside of university I have my own blog – the female medic. I also love to cook (and EAT!), read, draw and spend time outside doing anything water sports and hiking.
Tell us a little about why you decided to become a doctor
I did a degree in English Literature before coming to medicine and becoming a doctor wasn’t even on my radar. I wanted to work in theatre and film probably as a director or producer. However, as time went on I started to realise that I wanted to help people and make a difference in peoples lives. Whilst this is possible in theatre, it is far more direct in medicine. Plus, I started volunteering in a childrens hospital and was blown away by how much I wanted to be a part of that world. For me medicine is the perfect mix of creative and scientific, practical and academic.
Where did you apply and why?
I applied to Warwick as my first choice because I loved the fact that it was an all graduate course and the biggest of its kind. I also loved the community feel to the medical school with all year groups really helping one another. I also applied to Newcastle and Queen Mary’s in London for their graduate entry courses as they accepted non-science graduates and did the UKCAT. As an extra I applied to the Leicester undergraduate course since there were no other options for Grad Med and I knew the Leicester interview was the earliest of them all. Since I lived in Leicester I thought it would be good interview practice. It turned out that was a great preparation for my other interviews.
How did you find the application process, any advice?
For me the application process was emotionally quite tough. The first time I applied my UKCAT score was not high enough. I think this was partly due to the fact that I was doing my dissertation at the same time but also because it is a hard test and on the day the nerves definitely got the better of me. Once I got an interview 2 years later I found the process to be fair and pretty straight forward.
My main advice would be to practice managing your nerves for the UKCAT and get lots of practice as I think it’s a complete lie that practice doesn’t make a difference. I would also say to try and be completely honest and true to yourself in interviews as those on the other side can see when you’re faking it. Also have examples of some of the times you demonstrated key skills in healthcare such as communication or teamwork as you would in any job interview.
What colour is your stethoscope?
Did you have any expectations before you got to medical school?
I thought that, being an arts graduate, I would be really far behind everyone else. I felt as though the university must have made a mistake taking me on because I really wasn’t intelligent enough to be doing medicine. I thought the content would be so difficult and that I would be working every second of the day.
I was wrong about all of these things!
Being an arts graduate was hard but mainly from a confidence point of view. I was lucky that at Warwick there is the Non-Science Group which is a group of second years that hold your hand through the difficult topics holding a teaching session every week – this was not only a good source of teaching but also a place to vent and be reassured.
I still have days where I have severe imposter syndrome. However, I have realised that literally everyone does. Even the qualified doctors. In this career there is always someone better than you but you realise that if you do your best, work hard and play to your strengths you will get through, am boy does it feel good proving yourself wrong!
Finally, there are some topics in medicine that are complicated. However, most on the content is fairly straightforward. Plus there is basically unlimited resources to help you understand. The main issue is the volume of work. Good time management and self control when it comes to procrastination are very good skills to have, although I am still working on the latter.
What advice you would give now you have gotten in?
Don’t let your insecurities stop you from applying. If you don’t apply you will never know if you could have done it. They wont let you in if you aren’t good enough so please just have a go. There are people from all backgrounds and the graduate entry courses in particular are great for supporting everyone so if this is your dream – please please do that application!
Tell us about a strange experience you have had at medical school
Last year I was privileged enough to do a talk at the open days and offer holders days at the university. I found myself stood in front of the lecture theatre talking about medical school and answering questions. I had an overwhelming moment where I realised, I had been in that audience not long before. I remember I sat there wishing desperately to be in the speakers’ shoes in a few years and feeling that it was a distant dream that I probably wouldn’t achieve. Standing there having achieved it was quite an intense moment but such a happy one.
Do you have any questions you wished you had asked before you started and how you would answer them?
Were the medical students scared before they started?
YES! I think everyone was apprehensive about one thing or another. It’s a massive life choice and its intimidating. I think if you weren’t a bit scared then you probably haven’t considered the career enough. It’s a long, tough career but so worth it when you love it. (Also you won’t love it every day and you will definitely have days when you wish you’d picked a more sociable career path!)
What are your hopes for the future?
I would love to do something relating to Women’s Health and Mental Health. At the moment, I am wondering if I would like to be a GP with a special interest in Women’s Health and then work part time in public health/medical media. However, I am open to other options.
My main hope is that I have the courage to forge a career path that is right for me and makes me happy, no matter how unusual or intimidating it may seem. So far in my life, the times I have made the hardest decisions and taken the biggest leaps of faith have been the best, so I hope I continue this into my future.
I’d also like to have some babies at some point and it not be a hindrance to my career so let’s hope society can sort itself out in the not too distant future.
Tell us a little more about the image you chose to represent you:
I picked this picture because I did a degree in English Literature first and reading is still one of my huge passions in life. The fact that this had both the stethoscope and the books made it feel like I represented my journey well. Plus, I loved the pot plant in the back because, like half the population, I am obsessed with house plants!