Sion roberts intercalation student

Sion Roberts

I took the anatomy BSc for my intercalated degree.

Anatomy really interested me and the prospect of being able to apply what I’d learnt in more detail was something that I thought would also really benefit my future career. I hope to go into neurosurgery and therefore this intercalating degree has provided me a really excellent opportunity to future my understanding of this field. Leeds offered the opportunity for dissections which was a draw, also the structure of the course meant we started with most pre-clinical topics in our first two years and then move to mostly clinical learning in our final years. Importantly we are gradually introduced to this, which is really good if you prefer to understand the fundamentals of something before starting placements, which is something I preferred and felt would suit me better than patient-based learning, and something Leeds really excels at, something I hadn’t found at any other university. This is really good as it gives a unique learning experience, which allows us to learn whilst also maintaining a good level of patient contact. 

I am naturally quite curious and anatomy has always interested me, also I knew some of the tutor and knew that they were really helpful. Also the teaching on this degree is really through.

My intercalating project is on the spinal nerve and it’s use as an accessory nerve.

Within my project we are discussing the spinal nerve, it’s applicability to surgery, and how to minimise risk during operations. This is particularly interesting as there is some debate surrounding these structures and as to whether it can be defined as a cranial nerve or not. Importantly we want to know how we can apply this clinically in terms of signs, symptoms and treatments when the nerve may be damaged.

It’s been a challenge because the method of assessment during the intercalated degree is very different, it is based on synthesis rather that the rest of the medical degree which is  predominantly learning facts and theories. This has been really enjoyable though and I have had a lot more freedom to study and do what I want to do, I’m not so bound to lectures and that routine. It does mean that I have to be a little more organised with my learning and make sure I am keeping on top of my work, particularly when I we are marked so differently with the graded assignments.

I knew that as an aspiring surgeon this degree would be the most helpful in my future career, it’s directly relevant and invaluable for career development.   

Leeds is really leading for surgery and we’ve had some of the UK’s and even some world leading surgeons present and demonstrate techniques for us here whilst we’ve been studying. That’s been a real highlight of the course in the four years I’ve been here. Also I must mention how excellent and friendly the staff have been throughout my time here, they’ve always supported us in doing extra activities, such as RAPID a project which is a first responder program we are all involved in.

Here at Leeds they're really very good at ensuring you properly understand the curriculum and understand the fundamentals first and then apply them. Also one element here at Leeds I have particularly enjoyed is the integration of technology into the learning experience.