Sunday, 27 October 2013


So I know it’s Sunday, which means that this post is a day late, but i had work and to be honest, i completely forgot. And this week, having been keeping a look on the BBC News Health webpage, i found all of the stories to be pretty uninspiring. So i have decided to tell you a little bit about a trip i am really hoping to go on.
On Friday, myself, a couple of friends, and i suppose two hundred other people crammed into our college’s theater to see a video and hear a talk about a trip to Ghana; 20 first years get taken on a ten day adventure to a small village, where we help to raise awareness of malaria, HIV and AIDS. We also attend lessons with the local children for a week. We get a lesson in how to cook traditional Ghanaian foods, participate in sports, learn traditional dances and even get taught how to do our washing! Now while this all sounds absolutely amazing, the cost might dampen some peoples hopes of going, but to me, the £1400 definitely seems worth it! It will undoubtedly take a while to raise this much money, but at the end of the day, it’s a really good cause.

On the application form, it asks “why do you want to go on this trip?”. I suppose the really obvious place to start for this is that “it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity”. And while it will be, and that comment could almost be considered an understatement, there will be far more to gain from it.
If i was chosen to go i guess one of the most exciting things would be to see the cultural differences. One of my best friend’s, who has family who lives in Kenya, has always said how wonderful it is; how kind the people are; the foods; the traditions. But I think it will also be very eye opening to see the other side of life; the poverty and the disease, and my want to help other people, makes me want to go all the more.
While the main reason of going on trips like this is to help others, you will also be able to help yourself; making new friends from here and from Ghana; increase social skills; it can teach you invaluable work experience; and possibly most importantly, having fun with new people.

It is also important to consider what you will bring to the project? What skills can you offer that others might not have? Have you volunteered before? Have you ever done something that would boost your leadership skills? Something that shows dedication? Determination?
And how are you going to raise the money needed? Bike rides? Bake sales?

So, i’m sorry this post is so short, and FULL of questions! But I am hoping that by asking myself all of them, i stand a better chance of writing a better application!!
And if you ever want to do something like this, see if anything similar is run in your school or college, or here are a few sites i have found online that do similar things;

Until next time, peace out and much loves Lottie <3

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Medical School Lecture

Last Tuesday, one of the tutors from my college gave a talk to all of the people hoping to become medics, dentists and vets. Everything that she said was great advice, and i thought that some of you might find some benefit in it!
The first thing she said was; “this time last year there were 120 people sitting here. Of those people, 29 applied for medical school. 20 got a place.” And that really bought home just how hard the next year is going to be. Only 17% of the people who thought they wanted to go to medical school when they were in the position i am now, actually got accepted! And i found that really scary. But, it just makes me realise how determined i am; how much i want to be part of that 17%...

To get into a medical school, you need to have strong GCSE’s. A’s and A*’s are basically a requirement- better not tell them about the B in English Language then!
Apparently, if a university has to choose between two students with identical A levels and extra curriculars, then they will look at your GCSE’s- and with the number of students applying, there is quite a good chance that there is going to be someone with the same credentials as you.
A must is having an A in AS level Chemistry, and very strong A2 predictions- but the requirements will vary from year to year and from university to university.
Also, depending on where you want to go, you may need to sit an entry test. The most common one is the UKCAT; Clinical Aptitude Test. The other one is the BMAT; Biomedical Aptitude Test. This will only be required if you apply for Oxford or Cambridge.

Her biggest piece of advice she gave on work experience was to have a balance; its great to have loads of good work experience, but you still need to get good grades. And you need  to be realistic- is what you want to do actually going to be of benefit, and is it actually possible for you to do it?
These are a few of the things she suggested we have a look at doing;
  • vets
  • morgue
  • hospital
  • shadow a GP
  • care home
  • pharmacy

Also, make sure that you write a diary, or like me, keep a blog, so you can keep a note of everything you have done to help you write your personal statement; what you did, how you coped and how it made you feel.
You can also go on residential trips, but apparently these can be quite expensive and universities don’t specifically look out for them.

As well as having good work experience, admissions tutors also look for other interests. They show that you have other skills outside of science, and that you can keep a balance with work and play. Some interests can also show a lot of perseverance; an essential part of making it through university.
Universities will also being looking at your personal qualities. Can you work well in a team? Communicate well with lots of people? Show empathy in difficult situations? Be academic? Have adaptability? Are you decisive? You will be making life and death situations on a daily basis.

One thing you should bear in mind is that there is more than one medicine course you can do, and more than one university you can apply to, so its important to consider what would be the best option for you. You have a look at what else they offer- sports clubs? Societies? Student associations?
Also, it might be worth having a look at the UCAS website to see what the minimum requirements are. There are quite a few things you should try and read a few times; but the two most important ones are probably the BMJ Student and the New Scientists.

But probably the most important thing to consider is; why do you want to apply? What do you want to get out of it? And what will you bring to the medical profession?

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3

These are the links to some of the things i have mentioned above;

Saturday, 19 October 2013


Heya, so about 5 minutes ago, I made a Twitter account for my Spoonful Of Medicine Blog! I plan to post links to articles and such stuffs, and also links to my news posts. Hopefully you will follow and keep up to date with what I am doing on here.
Here is the linkage!

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3

Story Saturday~ Spring Clean Your Brain

In our medical society, the first thing we are asked about is “have you seen anything to do with medicine in the news?” And usually, my answer is from now on, I am going to make a concerted effort to look at the BBC Health News page, and if I find anything exciting, I am going to write a post about, I give to you…”Story Saturday”. 

Basically, I’m going to try and keep a little bit more up to date with what's going on in the medical world. And hopefully, by writing a little bit about it, I will remember more, and learn more from it. And hopefully, you might learn a little bit too. I will post a little bit about an article I found quite interesting every Saturday; and lets hope I can remember what I wrote about by the time medsoc comes around!

When I opened up BBC Health News, the first article was about sleep. Scientists are claiming that when we sleep, our brain has a little tidy up of all of the toxins in there; all without us even aware it’s happening. And, get this, the more we think the more toxins that build up (they think). So when i’m sat in class, complaining that my brain hurts from too much thinking, it could actually be a viable statement!! I can imagine it now; “miss, I’ve been thinking too much. All the toxins are starting to poison me, I think I should go home *wink**wink*”.

It’s thought, that when we are asleep, our brain cells shrink a little bit, which makes the gaps in between neurons larger, allowing fluid to flush through, taking away the toxins. But we still aren’t 100% sure why we even need sleep- surely, sleeping leaves an animal open to be attacked by a predator (just to clarify, no i’m not referring to your little/big sister/brother as in my house :P)?

"The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choose between two different functional states - awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up," said researcher Dr Maiken Nedergaard. "You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can't really do both at the same time."

Some time last year, it was discovered that we have a type of lymphatic system in the brain, like we do throughout the rest of the body, known as glymphatic system. This is what is believed to allow the fluid to flush through the neurons, and have a little spring clean. In mice, these cleaning pipes became nearly 10 times more active when they were having a snooze. So basically, the more we sleep the better!! People have always said that there must be a reason teenagers have such a hard time waking up in the morning- maybe this is that reason! We think so much more than the rest of the population, our brains need to have a deeper clean, so we have to sleep longer? Well, that's going to be my argument for oversleeping from now on!

Anywho, here is the link for the full article if you want to have a read. (The whole time i was writing this, all i could imagine was a mouse wrapped up in a blankey with a teddy, so i found one on Google. Enjoy!)

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Pharmacy Work

By the end of this week I will have been working in a pharmacy for two months! Yay! Look at me being committed! And i thought that it would be useful for me to keep a track of some of the interesting things that i get up to, and that could come of some use later when writing my PS.

My main role is serving customers, and even that gives me “patient contact”, as you have to ask quite a few questions to make sure that the medications they want to buy are right for them. And slowly, i am starting to learn the things to ask, and what to say depending on the answers. Say if a customer wanted some brufen from behind the counter and they told me that they were taking salbutamol, i would have to advise them on a different course of treatment. It may sound a little boring, but i’m starting to understand more about the different pills we sell and who can and can't use them.

The next biggest thing i do, is hand out prescriptions- i actually really enjoy doing this as the people you get to meet and the drugs i come into contact with are so diverse, no one day is like another. I am beginning to learn what different drugs on prescriptions are for, how they work, and the kind of patient they would be for. I also really love it when you see a regular customer picking up a repeat prescription. You really start to build relationships with them; and it’s nice to have a little chat too!

Because of the day that i work, the duty pharmacist is different every week, and it’s actually quite surprising how differently things are done by different people! One pharmacist that works with me every four weeks, likes to reopen the prescription before i hand it out and have a chat with the patient about it, how they get on with it and how well it works for them. In this way, she gets quite a lot of patient contact, and helps to ensure that the patient is happy.
Another pharmacist likes to make sure that i help her as much as possible to make sure that i am exposed to how things in a hospital pharmacy might work. It really is quite a complex process and working here has opened my eyes as to how things in the medical world work; we work very closely with local doctors surgeries and i can now see just how important having a good relationship with patients is.

I would really, really recommend spending time in a pharmacy, even if its just for a couple of days, give it a go! It’s really opened my eyes as to how life could be for me in the future!
I applied for a paid job in a well established company, but i also sent my CV lots of smaller local pharmacys about having a week or so’s work experience. It’s really not difficult to get exposure to medicine in everyday life, if you know where to look.

I hope, if you do get some work experience or a job, you have as much fun and find it as interesting as i do!

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3

The End Bit

So what i plan to do, is at the end of every post, make a few notes about what i’ve written about, and how this will benefit me in the future.

> Lots of patient contact
> Exposure to drugs
> An insight into how a pharmacy works
> Conversation skills
> Being tactful (selling pregnancy tests, the morning after pill, needle exchange)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Personal Statements and Work Experience

So one of the main things that anyone wanting to attend university will be freaking out slightly about, will be personal statements. Over the last week or so i have really been looking into “how to write a PS”, looking at other peoples examples and keeping a check on the Student Room Forums. At the moment, it is application time for the second years wanting to do medicine, dentistry, veterinary and, for some, law.

When it comes to a PS one thing I have heard being said over and over again is “it’s not what you've done, it’s what you’ve learned”. This basically means, it doesn't matter if you shadowed the country’s best surgeon for a day or whether you’ve volunteered in a care home for six months- its what knowledge you gain and how you develop as a person because of the experience. In actual fact; the person who volunteered for six months will probably be more attractive to application tutors as this shows commitment.
If you did get to see open heart surgery as part of your work experience; great! You will always remember something like that, but it doesn't really matter; you will have had no idea what was going on so how does this really give you an advantage? The fact that you were lucky when it came to applying for work experience, doesn’t mean anything about you. And the fact that you may have been able to practice some clinical skills won't give you any advantage over others applying. If you need to know something like that you will be taught it when you get to medical school! In reality, if you did get to practice some clinical skills, you probably weren’t qualified to do them; so why shout about it?! If you do mention a procedure you have seen, the chances are you will be asked about it in your interview; are you really going to be prepared for this? Having pretty much no knowledge of what is actually going on?

There are loads of different things that i have looked into for work experience, and if i am honest; i’ve not been very proactive about it :/ But here are a few of the most obvious places to start.

Things that could count towards work experience:
  • GP surgery (but definitely not your own! They will most likely throw your application away before they’ve even read it! This is mainly because of confidentiality reasons)
  • Charity shops
  • Beavers/cubs/scouts/brownies
  • Pharmacy
  • Hospice
  • Physiotherapy department
  • Care homes

The list could really go on forever. I have volunteered as a young leader at a local beaver group for nearly two years now, and i have recently started working in a pharmacy. They both are completely different fields of work experience but have both helped me to develop skills essential to being a doctor.

So the moral of the story? Try to get a few different placements for a longer period of time; or else you could look uncommitted and fickle.
And it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you will be able to gain some personal skills and knowledge from them and be able to draw upon these during an least thats what i have been told :)

These are two pretty good examples of a personal statement that i found whilst i was meant to be doing a biology essay on stem cells- at least it wasn’t a complete waste of time!

Number 1- Tries to include humor- being an applications tutor must be a little bit boring so make your statement stand out.

Number 2- A little bit wordy and needs to show more of what he learnt from work experience, not actually what he did, but quite interesting.

One other thing- The Student Room. I literally live and die by the website, and i would highly recommend that anyone wanting to apply for uni creates an account. It has everything you could ever need to know about anything to do with being a student.
Here is a page all about writing a personal statement for medical school. Have a quick look if you have the time.

Anywho, have fun writing a big long essay about how great you are!!

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3

Monday, 14 October 2013


So! Hello! My name is Lottie, i'm 16 (and I know how cliche this will be but..) for as long as i can remember, i have wanted to study medicine! And it really is true; Science has always been my passion and i hope that i will always retain it.
My first memory of being interested in the medical side of life, was when i got a little doctor’s kit for Christmas, back when i was about 4 or 5. That thing wasn't allowed to leave my sight. It was bright red and i had my own little stethoscope; from that moment on my fate was sealed!

I started studying my AS levels at college at the beginning of September, and the first week of October was Fresher’s; where i signed up for MedSoc. I started attending the week after and i now know that this is exactly what i want to do. The first meeting was absolutely packed and the things we got talking about were really interesting. One of the biggest things that i picked up on was about work experience, placements and personal statements. One of the second years that runs medsoc mentioned that she manages to keep up with everything; volunteering; applications; UCAS; through keeping a blog, and i thought “why not?”. I am a real scatter brain, and if it helps her keep track of what's going on, why wouldn't it help me?!

I hope that by trying to keep track of everything here i will be able to feel more confident about applying; and some of the things i post may even help you too.

Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3