BMedSci in Cardiology at the University of Sheffield

Personal reflection from Rachel Murali-Krishnan (Phase 3b Student)

I took a year out of my medicine degree to complete a BMedSci degree in cardiology and take the opportunityRachel Murali-Krishnan to get stuck in with some medical research. Within this year I completed a research project. The main aim of the project was to try and determine whether an assessment of frailty could aid risk prediction following percutaneous coronary intervention and whether frailty is a more appropriate variable than age. The work also considers which clinical factors contribute to frailty and explores different frailty scores and their application in clinical practice. The main conclusion from the work was that a simple assessment of frailty can help predict the length of hospital stay, and may therefore help clinicians and managers plan PCI and appropriate resources for vulnerable patients. The work is being continued my another BMedSci student this academic year with the hypothesis that frailty is a risk factor for 30-day mortality after PCI.

I completed this project under supervision from Dr. Julian Gunn who is a cardiologist at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. I had a thoroughly enjoyable year working on this project with him and his team. I chose to complete a BMedSci intercalation to experience a more academic side of medicine, to take the opportunity to be involved in medical research and to gain the practical skills associated with research. These goals were met and further. For my BMedSci degree I received a first class honours degree and have also been rewarded a prize for “excelling in a cardiology clinical rotation”. A review article based on some of my work is in the pipeline to be published and I have submitted an abstract in the hope of presenting at conference. The intercalation year also helped me grow in confidence by being a member of a clinical team and encouraging me to take charge in my work and learning. This particular research project appealed to me because the aims seemed to be clinically relevant to current practice and coronary artery disease is a very important pathological subject, particularly in the developed world.

Although I really enjoyed my year in cardiology, I have become particularly interested in obstetrics and gynaecology as a potential future career as I loved my time during two separate placements in this specialty. I am hoping to gain some experience in obstetrics and gynaecology in the USA for my elective next year. I am, however, keeping an open mind with career plans.

I am thoroughly enjoying the medical course at Sheffield and am confident I am applying skills I learnt from the BMedSci year to improve my practice as a medical student. I am excited to pursue my career in medicine/surgery but also hope to achieve a good life outside of medicine. I love painting and exercise and I am newly married so I hope to have a happy family life as well as a stimulating career.

Sheila Francis HoD Cardiovascular Science commented "I am glad Rachel had a very rewarding time during her BMedSci with us. Sheffield BMedSci data captured for our Athena SWAN silver award show that fewer female students opt to undertake this research year. I hope that Rachel's experience and her success will encourage other women students to consider this pathway".

Article written by Rachel Murali-Krishnan, Phase 3b Medical Student, University of Sheffield.