University welcomes future medics

Pupils from across South Yorkshire took part in a residential summer school last week (25 July – 28 July 2011) to experience what life is like as a medical student at the University of Sheffield.

The Summer School, which is part of the University of Sheffield's Outreach and Access to Medicine Scheme (SOAMS), featured 50 Year 12 students spending four days living and studying at the University's Medical School.

Attending lectures and engaging in debates on ethical issues, the pupils had the opportunity to practice clinical skills like venepuncture (obtaining a sample of blood) and checking vital signs, whilst also being able to get advice on careers and the range of options available in the NHS.

On the final day of the Summer School, pupils had the opportunity to spend half a day in a department of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, giving them the chance to talk to professionals and patients, and at the same time get a valuable insight into what life is like as a fully qualified doctor.

Laurisa Robson, aged 17, a SOAMS Summer School student said: "This week has been such a learning curve for me. I entered the week quite oblivious and thinking the only job in medicine was being a doctor. I have had the opportunity to learn about professions and specialisms that I had never even heard of that are so incredibly exciting and interesting. It has helped me to gain the knowledge and basic skills to become a doctor but most importantly provided me with the opportunity to practice these skills, for example giving injections. The week provided me with stimulating lectures and talks given by professionals with crucial information required to gain a position in the medical service. This week has been possibly one of the most important weeks in my life and I'm so lucky to have experienced it."

Karl Boulton, aged 21, a Medical Student Ambassador at the University of Sheffield and former SOAMS student added: "I wanted to be involved in this Summer School to help give something back to the scheme that helped me so much to get where I am today and also to help contribute to improving access to medicine. The Summer School has been a fantastic opportunity for me in my own development and it is great to help students just like me reach their full potential."

Launched a number of years ago, the Summer School together with the University of Sheffield's Outreach and Access to Medicine Scheme aims to make a career in medicine a possibility for able students from all backgrounds.

Aimed at local Year nine to 13 students with an interest in medicine, the scheme provides support and guidance through a range of activities which aim to raise awareness, aspirations and levels of achievement.

Students who complete the scheme are guaranteed an interview for an offer of a place to study Medicine at the University of Sheffield.

If students pass their interview they will be made a conditional offer for Medicine at the University, providing they achieve the A Level results required by the Medical School.

SOAMS students may also be eligible for a means-tested bursary which includes additional money for students who completed the scheme.

Deborah Fowler, Head of Outreach and Access at the University of Sheffield said: "I'm really pleased that so many students have shown the dedication and commitment required to fully participate in SOAMS over a period of up to four years, and that so many have been able to take advantage of what has been a very intensive week of activity. We hope that the programme the students have followed will help students achieve their dreams of becoming doctors and we wish all of our participants success in their chosen career."

Notes for Editors: To find out more about the University of Sheffield's Outreach and Access to Medicine Scheme (SOAMS), visit the link below.

For further information please contact: Sean Barton, Media Relations Assistant on 0114 2229852 or email s.barton@sheffield.ac.uk