By Imelda Vitenu
The journey into Medicine is surely not an easy one- the endless UCAS application process, UCAT and BMAT entrance exams, interview process and the final hurdle of A-Level Exams!
Many applicants believe the only way to pursue a career in Medicine is via the traditional 5/6-year Medicine course, unaware of the various pathways into Medicine. But no two stories are the same when it comes to medical students and their journey into medicine!
One of the pathways into Medicine at University of Manchester, as well as many other universities is via a Foundation Year Pathway which involves an extra year to prepare students for entry into the 5-year MBChB Medicine Course. The University of Manchester’s Foundation Year Programme is specifically designed for students with little or no background in science but want to fulfil a career in Medicine.
This pathway is truly practical and engaging right from the first day of the programme and provides an excellent taster into the course structure of the 5-year Medicine course.
A typical week of a Foundation Year student starts with Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) sessions on a Monday morning, where students work through a case based medical scenario and then collate a learning agenda that students work on independently throughout the week. This part of the programme provides students with a good platform and head start on the almost identical PBL teaching structure that is carried out from Year 1 and onwards in Medicine.
Every Monday, there is a timetabled laboratory session involving procedures such as ECG measurements, creation and analysis of haematological slides and identifying blood groups. These sessions enable students to be well equipped and prepared for Physiology and Pharmacology sessions during Years 1-5.
Throughout the rest of the week, the foundation year students engage in Biology and Chemistry A-Level style content lessons at a local college that works in partnership with the university. The staff at the college are extremely helpful and provide students with a great depth of science content to enable maximal attainment in Winter and Summer exams.
On Thursday and Friday, in addition to Biology and Chemistry lessons at the local college and a PBL close session, students also have the opportunity of having fascinating lectures delivered by doctors, scientists and researchers where they talk about different topics ranging from Enquiry Based Learning content for that week to delving into the realities of being a doctor and practicing medicine.
In the Spring term of the Foundation Year Programme, students also complete a poster presentation on a topic of their choice, a research essay project and presentation on an allocated topic. Having the opportunity to work on professional academic pieces of work is an amazing skill that is developed during the Foundation Year and truly gives students a head start on future PEP essay and poster projects that students will have to encounter during the MBChB programme.
Overall, from having extremely encouraging and friendly lead tutors of the programme to preparing students perfectly for the Medicine course, the Foundation Year is certainly worthwhile and a manageable and exciting pathway into Medicine.
So, whether someone’s entry into Medicine is via a Foundation Year, completion of a previous undergraduate degree, internal transfers and many more routes, all students that land themselves on this rewarding course should be extremely proud of themselves for beginning the journey of becoming a future medical doctor!