The Department of General Practice hosted their annual meeting for GP tutors in the 4th Year course at Riddel Hall on the 10th September 2014. Over 150 GP tutors from across the province attended this training session and representatives from NIMDTA and the RCGP (NI) were also present.
Everyone, including some other colleagues from within the School was welcomed by Professor Margaret Cupples who highlighted the group’s annual report of academic activities and achievements. Professor Pascal McKeown set the scene for the meeting with an overview of the medical degree curriculum. He showcased some of the many notable achievements by the CME, its staff and students over the last year. Dr Drew Gilliland gave a brief history of the student-nominated Robin Harland Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching which he invited Dr John O’Kelly (Chair of the RCGP NI) to present to Dr Scott McIver (Finaghy Health Centre, Belfast). Dr Tinekea Fearon (Keady) and Dr Fiona Colton (Ballyowen) were also recognised as being worthy runners up.
Professor Tim Dornan (Medical Education Research, CME, QUB) presented a very engaging talk on ‘Experience based learning: how medical students learn from workplace experiences’. Dr Gerry Gormley then presented an update, and feedback, about the Phase 4 GP module. Aidan Bannon (Final year medical student) shared his experience of his general practice placement. Dr Nigel Hart (CME) and Dr Janet Rodgers (GP, Carryduff) presented an overview of the General Practice attachment within the hugely successful Assistantship Scheme (FY0) scheme for final year students. Feedback from participants indicated that l this was a highly successful meeting which illustrated clearly the importance of general practice in delivering the undergraduate medical curriculum at QUB.
A fourth year medical student at Queen’s University Belfast has beaten off stiff competition to win the UK Student Volunteer of the Year award at a glitzy award ceremony in London.
22-year-old Aidan Bannon from Belfast was announced as the winner by award organisers Student Hubs, part of the National Union of Students, at a gala celebration at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster in March of this year.
Unfortunately, the fourth-year medical student was unable to attend the London ceremony but was presented with his award in Belfast by Wendy Osborne, CEO of local organisation Volunteer Now. She said it was in recognition of Aidan’s commitment to a wide variety of projects, including the Queen’s University Red Cross Society, which he founded. The society now boasts upwards of 60 members who, along with Aidan, have helped over 3,500 young people.
Aidan, who hopes to graduate in 2015, has also been involved in the student Volunteer Academy and spearheaded the Mind Your Mood campaign at Queen’s, which has engaged with 1,300 students this year, over 600 of whom attended a mental-health workshop.
At Queen’s University Red Cross, Aidan developed a three-month long community engagement project focusing on the personal development of young people aged 10-18 in Belfast.
The 22-year-old's achievements triumphed last night over a range of inspiring community projects around Britain and Northern Ireland including a scheme to support minors in custody and another aimed at inspiring young people through the performing arts.
The student medic, who is considering a career in paediatrics or public health, has previously won a number of awards including the UK Endsleigh Student of the Year award and the Belfast Community Impact Award (also featured in previous editions of MDBS News)
Commenting on his latest accolade, Aidan said he was “delighted”.
He added: “It truly is an honour to represent student volunteers around the UK and to champion the excellent work they do. I hope the award encourages more students to volunteer and also raises the profile of Queen’s University Belfast Medical School as a hub of great volunteering and leadership opportunities. Community-based and charitable organisations are an important cornerstone of all areas of society and increased student engagement with them will undoubtedly help to diversify skill sets of students, generate fresh ideas and create valuable and valued relationships for all involved.”
Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s, Tony Gallagher said: “Volunteering has become a key part of the student experience at Queen’s University and Aidan Bannon is one of our most inspirational volunteers. Aidan has already won a string of awards for his volunteering work and now adds the accolade of UK Student Volunteer of the Year. Aidan not only devotes a lot his time to volunteering, but has encouraged many others to sign up and help change lives. Queen’s University is very proud of Aidan’s success and the inspirational example he provides for other students and young people.”
Enterprise and Development Support Office at Queen’s Students’ Union, Lynne Weir, who nominated Aidan for the award, said it was “so well-deserved”.
She added: “I have worked with Aidan in the past and he has boundless energy. He’s an inspiration to students and staff alike about what’s possible.”
Aidan Bannon said he would encourage anyone to take up volunteering. “Volunteering will expand and increase your opportunities,” he said. “You can meet new people, develop your character and realise your own passion and ideas. My advice is to think carefully about what you are passionate about when getting involved.”
GMC Medical Professionalism Conference
On the 12th December 2013, four delegates from Queen’s University Belfast attended the GMC Medical Professionalism Conference in the Manchester Central Convention Centre, Manchester. Our debate team of three, Chloe Wong, Rebekah Mo and James Wylie took part in the “Professionals in the future” student debate where we argued in favour of the motion- ‘You will ruin your career if you speak out about the poor practice you witness.’ Our opposition was Barts and the London. The audience consisted of medical students, doctors, journalists and other professions. A pre-debate survey showed that the majority of the audience were against the motion with only 14% of the audience agreeing with the motion. This proved a challenge as we were starting on the back foot. We argued that careers had indeed been ruined as a result of whistleblowing, right up until recent days. We talked about the importance of recognising the difficulties facing whistleblowers and the need for change. In essence our message was that raising concerns and whistleblowing was important but we needed better protection in order to ensure all concerns about patient safety are raised and addressed. The post-debate survey showed that 85% of the audience were now in favour of the motion and the motion was carried. Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC and Fergus Walsh, BBC Health Correspondent commended our performance and congratulated us on turning the motion around. Fergus Walsh said that the results of the debate were important and should be fed to the GMC.
Rebekah and Chloe took part in the poster competition on ‘How medical professionalism will look in 30 years’ time.’ Their poster entitled, “Advancing Digital Healthcare: Implications on Professionalism,” was featured alongside a collection of 18 posters from across the UK and voted for by the delegates. Rebekah and Chloe were presented with 1st Prize by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, after his closing keynote speech.
Attending the conference was an inspirational and eye-opening experience. We have come away from the conference feeling more aware about the challenges facing us as tomorrow’s doctors but also more confident on how to face these problems as future professionals.