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Shilpa Prabhakar: Should you choose mental health as your specialty?

27 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

shilpa_prabhakarI have always wanted to be a doctor. Perhaps, like many, I was attracted to medicine because I wanted to help people. After qualifying in 2004, I briefly did a general medical rotation before moving into paediatrics and then surgical specialties. That’s when I came across psychiatry.

Mental health is the only specialty where you can have two different patients with the same diagnosis, but they present in completely different ways. The ability to work with patients over a long period of time is very unique to psychiatry. more…

Vageesh Jain: Donald Trump—a disaster for global health

3 Oct, 16 | by BMJ

vageesh_jainAs the US presidential election inches closer, Donald Trump appears to be tapping into the American zeitgeist. But what would a Trump presidency mean for the world?

Some say nothing will change in the permanently gridlocked US political system. Others fear nuclear war, the re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan, and shorter maternity leave. And just when you thought he had far surpassed the upper echelons of controversial things a presidential candidate can say without being arrested, Trump proclaimed that climate change is a hoax. It’s not only the environment that took an upper cut to the jaw that day, but global health too. more…

Fiona Godlee: My biggest career failure

15 Jul, 16 | by BMJ

fi_blogLike most of us, I have known failure. I tried to get into Cambridge to do preclinical medicine from sixth form—twice: once in my fourth term and again in my seventh. Both attempts were unsuccessful. Instead I went to University College London and got to know London (my favourite city), and had the added benefit of studying history of medicine at the Wellcome Institute. But I did subsequently get to Cambridge for the fourth and fifth years of medical school and I live there now. more…

Soham D Bhaduri: The NEET-PG could be an opportunity to transform India’s medical education

29 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Soham Dinabandhu BhaduriThe Indian government has seemingly assented to the NEET-PG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Post Graduate) as a common exit cum entrance exam for those who’ve achieved their MBBS and want to begin practising medicine or continue with a postgraduate medical course, irrespective of whether they come from an Indian or foreign medical school.

As has been reported, the Medical Council of India and the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare have vouched for the NEET-PG as a suitable replacement for university examinations, especially in light of the varying standards of medical education across medical colleges and universities in India.

The idea of a single exam has won exponents all over the nation for a number of reasons. more…

Neel Sharma: We need to understand the real life applications of technology in medical education

24 May, 16 | by BMJ

Technology as we all know has caused significant movement in medical education. In reality this was not a desire of our own as doctors, but was brought to us courtesy of the gaining popularity of technology use in everyday lives, from the rise of the internet, mobile devices, laptops, and social media. We then attempted to utilise this technology due to its abundance. And further attempted to enhance the academic validity of its use by linking its worth to educational theories. Interestingly many of these theories were developed at a time when technology did not exist. more…

Nick Hopkinson: Canvassing—should medical students get out on the doorstep?

3 May, 16 | by BMJ

The price good people pay for not engaging in politics is bad government. I prefer this version of Plato’s aphorism to the more usual “rule by your inferiors” one. The guiding ethical principle should not be one’s position within a hierarchy, but rather that society should be fair and reasonable; organised in a way that could be justified to the disinterested observer proposed by Adam Smith and others; [1] organised so that the necessary steps are taken to reduce the number of people living bad lives—lives that are too short, or lack other human goods. [2] more…

Pratheeshaa Varuni Nageswaran: The fictional narrative

16 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

Pratheeshaa_Nageswaran_picI entered medical school armed with a large collection of my favourite fiction, a boxset of Friends, and excitement for this new phase of my life. Although getting lost in a book had always previously been one of my favourite things to do in my spare time, I found that with the increasing number of hours my head was in a textbook, I slowly started to lose interest in reading for fun anymore.

This year I reignited my interest, and with it I found that the act of reading personal stories—someone’s narrative—could offer doctors more than just the pleasure of a good book. I recently read Inside the O’Briens, a story where Joe, a family man, is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. more…

Claire Beecroft: Why all medical students need an education in health economics

29 Feb, 16 | by BMJ

Claire Beecroft2How do doctors manage conversations with patients about the availability (or often non-availability) of certain drugs or treatments within the NHS? In most consultations, the patient’s questions around their illness and treatment can usually be answered by drawing on a combination of medical training, formal guidelines, and clinical experience. However, few doctors will have received any training in health economics, and many junior doctors may be facing these questions for the first time and with no previous experience to reflect on.

Five years ago I responded to a request from our medical school at the University of Sheffield to provide some teaching for a programme that would address topics outside of the conventional medical curriculum. more…

George Gillett: Medical schools should teach students to combat disease, not terrorism

6 Jan, 16 | by BMJ


The winter holiday is a busy time for medical students. In anticipation of another year of clinical rotations, we’re faced with the annual onslaught of online training activities to prepare for our upcoming placements. These tasks invariably feature the relatively tedious topics so-cherished by our course organisers; health and safety, data protection, and manual handling. Yet this week, a rather unusual request landed in my inbox. I’d been asked to learn how to spot a terrorist.

The training, I was told, was mandatory for all medical students studying in the trust in which I’d been placed, and was compiled by the government’s Prevent counter-terrorism strategy. more…

Alisha Patel: Why sustainability should be important to medical students

25 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

Alisha-Patel_picMedical school can feel like a production line of future doctors, equipping us with the skills to diagnose and manage patients with a vast number of illnesses. But if we are not engaging in issues related to sustainability along the way, then will we really be able to fully fulfil our duty as health professionals?

The concept of sustainable healthcare was briefly introduced to me in my first year of medical school. I was surprised to realise the extent to which the NHS is affected by environmental change, and that it is also contributing to it too as the largest public sector emitter of carbon emissions. more…

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