Kimberley intercalating

Kimberly Smith

I chose Leeds because I had been studying at Leicester Medical School and it was located conveniently near to Nottingham where I was also working. I knew I wanted to intercalate and Leeds offered the ideal course with their Clinical Anatomy BSc, I was partially interested in this because I particularly wanted to study anatomy and dissection.

Originally I wanted to either study maths or chemistry but I ended taking a year out to work before university. I found myself working in a care assistant in a care home, I ended up really enjoying working with people and realised that if I did a degree in a theoretical science I would be predominantly lab based. I withdrew my offer and applied to study medicine instead.

Leeds has some really interesting societies here, I joined Irish dancing and have really enjoyed myself. It’s a very big city compared to Leicester and it’s been good to experience that but I think I’ll always prefer a quieter place of life.

The Faculty and course have been really excellent, the teaching elements especially have been very helpful. Traditionally when doing wet dissections we were split into groups of eight medical students, however on the Anatomy BSc we have had to do dissection independently which has been both challenging and rewarding, if not a little overwhelming at times.

I took the anatomy BSc course, I felt I needed to escape from the hectic life of a medical student and I thought intercalation would offer me not only the opportunity to learn more about a subject I am really interested in but some time to take a more relaxed approach to study.

I chose anatomy because it is very practical and hands on, something which really drew me to it. Also I felt that if I wanted to study ethics or public health I could do this at any point in my career, it’s not often you are presented with the opportunity to spend a whole year sitting in a dissecting room but the support of highly trained professionals.

I am looking at the nerves of the upper body, with a particular focus on the head and neck, with reference to their significance in upper arm, head and neck surgery and the use of nerve blocks within otolaryngological proceedures. My dissections have allowed me to looking in to nerve structures and where these nerve blocks would be best placed when operating on a patient and how this can be used to reduced complications in surgery.

The tutors have been particularly good, with such small class sizes its been very hands and helped a lot at the beginning of the course where you can feel a little like you’ve been thrown in the deep end.

The dissection project on my own has been particularly challenging, there is not room for error when working on a Cadaver, and it’s not ideal to reach for the superglue! I have learnt a lot from doing this project, especially the literature review, this is taken a really long time, and it’s a different style of learning compared to what we’re used to in medical school where it can be very much about learning guidelines and little about synthesis.

One of the most important areas in which I have noticed a substantial change is in my scientific writing and analysis. Beforehand we were mostly learning NICE guidelines but this degree has taught me a great deal about how to read, critique and synthesis literature.