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This post is written by Grace, a 1st year medical student at Lincoln Medical school.
Over the past academic year at Lincoln Medical School (LMS), I have loved (almost) every minute of it! Being part of the first cohort at Lincoln Medical School I feel like I am a part of history. At the same time, I am fully aware that there is little to no information out there about student experiences. In this post, I hope to give you a better insight into what it is really like at Lincoln Medical School, the real truth… So, keep on reading.
- An Overview of Teaching Methods
- Typical Timetable of a 1st year Medical Student at Lincoln
- The Non-Medical Stuff
- 3 Top Tips For Applying to Lincoln
An Overview of How We Are Taught
Lincoln Medical School opened its doors to the first cohort in September 2019. The University of Nottingham and the University of Lincoln collaborated to form this new medical school in hopes to train more UK doctors. The curriculum and the structure of the LMS course are equivalent to the Nottingham Medical School ones.
At Lincoln Medical School the course is split into two parts.
- The Early Years (Year 1-3) is where you learn the knowledge and skills required to become a doctor. In your third year, you complete a research project towards your BMedSci award. As the BMedSci is integrated into the course it takes the place of an intercalated year (a year out to complete a second degree).
- The Later Years (Year 4-5), Clinical Phase. This is where you undertake various placements at hospitals and GPs applying the knowledge you acquired from the early years.
In the early years, we cover a wide range of subjects and learn in various ways. In many aspects, I think the course structure at Lincoln is an ideal approach to shape and mould us into great doctors. From our lectures to practical sessions, we learn everything required of us by the GMC. At Lincoln Medical School we learn by Case-Based Learning (CBL). Each week we have a case that we follow, but this only really starts in semester two. Each day of the week a new part of the case gets released. The case of the week is based on the ‘theme of the week’ e.g. for the asthma week, the case will follow an asthma patient. On Fridays, an external clinician comes in and ties together the case in a ‘plenary session’.
A huge part of how we are taught is through lectures. In other words, we have a lot of lectures each week. Sometimes we have 5-6 lectures in a day! Lectures usually last for 50 minutes and occur at a similar time as our counterparts at Nottingham Medical School. In lectures, we study subjects like biochemistry, pharmacology, histology, public health, behaviour science and more.
Practical, Labs and Workshops
We often have practicals during the week based on a lecture that we have done. For example, we would have a histology lecture on a particular type of cell, followed by a practical session looking at the cells under microscopes. We have a few other practical sessions such as physiology ones. This can involve learning how to place ECG electrodes and reading an electrocardiogram. We also have quite a few workshops throughout the year, for example, pharmacology workshops.
First-year placements include 2x GP Visits which you typically go on in pairs and 3x hospital visits. The GP Visits are full-day (9-5 pm) placements and hospital placements are half days (9-1 pm). Hospital placements are done in groups to either Lincoln County Hospital or the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.
Anatomy is taught by pro-section at Lincoln with an emphasis on surface anatomy. Surface anatomy is how internal structures relate to what you can see on the body surface. On Fridays, we have an introductory lecture which ‘sets the scene’ for the anatomy practical session on Monday. For practical sessions in the anatomy suite, you are taught in small groups of 10. Practical anatomy sessions run for 1.5 hours. Every week, each group gets a member of staff that teaches them, and the staff member changes every 2 weeks.
Clinical Skills and Early Clinical Professional Development
Clinical skills sessions are the best part of the course in my opinion because this is where you are really learning the ‘doctery bits’. The skills we learn in the first year include CPR, basic life skills, how to carry out respiratory and cardiac exams and more! Clinical skills sessions typically are on Wednesdays and again are taught in groups.
We have GP tutors who run our 2-hour seminars. Typically, our seminars cover topics such as ethical issues, history taking and communication skills.
A Typical Timetable of a 1st Year Medic
A Typical Week at Lincoln Medical School is never ‘typical’, it varies week to week. In other words, you won’t be able to have a timetable that you can memorise like in secondary school. But each day can follow a sort of trend which lets you anticipate what the day will entail.
See below some snapshots of a typical first-year timetable. The first image is from semester 1 and the second is from semester two. I have separated them because the weekly structure slightly changes in semester two.
The Non-Medical Stuff
Lincoln is a small city but that does not negate the beauty of it! It is one of the most unique cities I have visited in the UK. The university is surrounded by a lot of water, including the Brayford Pool which is the home for swans and various other animals. This gives the community a sense of elegance and tranquillity. Other quirky features of Lincoln are the train tracks that run through the town. Given that Lincoln is a relatively small city there are not as many clubs and nightlife venues compared with other bigger cities. But the University of Lincoln has a very lively spirit with many events going on throughout the year.
There are so many sports and societies that you can join. With the ability to set up ones that you want but haven’t been established yet. Being part of two medical schools means you can join any from both universities. You just have to bear in mind, that you will have to travel an hour plus regularly to be a part of the ones at Nottingham that require contact such as rowing and other physical sports.
The accommodation at the University of Lincoln is great, as they are mostly within walking distance of the university. The University has a range of rooms at prices to suit your various needs and requirements. In my first year, I stayed at Cygnet Wharf and I would HIGHLY recommend this accommodation choice. Not only is the most of the accommodation within walking distance of campus but also a variety of lovely waterfront restaurants such as Wagamama, Nando’s, Costa and more!
Pros of Studying at Lincoln
• Location– Lincoln University has it all. The town centre is just a 5-minute walk, where you can find everything you need. This includes the Morrisons which is the big supermarket that most students go to.
• Intimacy- Being a part of a relatively small medical school gives a large sense of community. You can build close relationships with your course mates as well as members of the staff! The staff at LMS are amazing and you’ll find that they actually know you and remember your name, a bit like in secondary school. Unlike at some of the larger medical schools where you can just feel like one fish in a very large pond.
• 2 degrees for the price of 1- At Lincoln, in the first half of your 3rd year you complete a BMedSci which is a second degree you get from the medical school. This is great because other universities that offer a second degree require you to take a whole extra year to do it. The BMedSci is integrated into the course which allows the course at Lincoln Medical School to remain 5 years long.
• Building– Another perk of a new medical school opening is a brand spanking new shiny building. It’s still in the process of being built but I know it’s going to be beautiful when it is completed. We’ve had a front-row seat of the building process from where we are currently having our lectures and it is slowly but surely coming along. It is going to be a 5-story stunning building including our very own medical library!
• Two universities- As a Lincoln Medical School student, you actually have the privilege of being a student at both the University of Nottingham and the University of Lincoln. Best of both worlds! Although you are based in Lincoln, you are still very much a student at the University of Nottingham. Even though LMS is new, the collaboration brings in Nottingham Medical School’s fifty-year experience (first cohort in 1970).
Cons of Studying at Lincoln
• Lack of Diversity- Coming from a big city like London myself, it was a huge culture shock for me. Lincoln isn’t very diverse, for example, if you are looking for ethnic shops such as Afro-Caribbean food stores, you won’t easily find this in Lincoln. This con is more about the area and the University of Lincoln itself, as Lincoln Medical School actually has 45% staff and faculty members identifying as being from Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
• Lack of older year groups- Lincoln Medical School is brand new as I mentioned before. So, if you’re applying for 2020/21 entry, you will only have one-year group (mine) ahead of you. This can be challenging when you are looking for some guidance from older and more experienced students who have already walked in your shoes. Although for this one, I am going to spin into a positive, at Nottingham there is a parent and grandparent scheme which Lincoln medical school are adopting. You will have a second-year student as your parent and a 3rd year as your grandparent. You also get a virtual buddy from Nottingham who will be happy to help you out.
• Confusion between Nottingham and Lincoln– Being a student at both universities can be confusing at times. Occasionally, we receive contradictory information from each university which needs to be clarified. Also, telling people you go to the University of Lincoln and the University of Nottingham will often result in a confused face and chain of questions following it.
3 Top Tips For Applying to Lincoln
1. Check the entry requirements against your credentials: On the Lincoln Medical School website, specific points on what they look for in applicants is listed. It is often good to go about your medical school applications ‘strategically’. There is no point applying if you do meet the requirements. For example, Lincoln Medical School requires 6 GGCSE Grade 7 (A) and a grade 6(B) in English Language. It probably won’t be wise to apply if you don’t have these grades.
2. Reflect on your work experience: Lincoln Medical School likes applicants who volunteer in a care environment or with disadvantage groups. As well as this they also say a paid job working with the general public is also work experience that they look for. Now, not only is getting work experience important but the reflection is also essential. How did your work experience aid you in making sure medicine is for you? What skills or qualities did your work experience develop that will make you a good doctor? These reflections are great points to write about in your personal statement and talk about in interviews.
Please note that given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the university is not expecting you to have completed work experience past March 2020.
3. Practice your interview skills: Interviews are a big part of the application process. If you get to the interview stage, you want to be prepared. Practise with friends and family to make sure you are confident and secure in your answers. Make sure you are strong on ethical scenarios and your motivation to study medicine answers.
Thank you Grace for providing such a detailed and interesting insight. You can check out her social media and own blog:
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