Placements give students 'hands on' experience

Placements give students 'hands on' experience

Professor Sheena Lewis and medical student Nur Farahin Abdul Rahim

Tomorrow’s doctors are getting the chance to gain ‘hands on’ experience in healthcare issues thanks to a unique initiative at Queen’s.

Through the Student Selected Component (SSC) Programme run by Queen’s medical school, students can gain practical experience by taking part in a range of outreach activities.

SSC Programme co-ordinator Dr Vivienne Crawford said: “All first, second and third year medical students participate in SSCs which allows them to study a topic outside the core curriculum.  Students can choose from a broad range of options based in the University, local hospitals, voluntary organisations and the community.

“Outreach activities are extremely popular with almost 20 per cent of students choosing to take part in SSCs based in or run by the community or with significant community input or involvement.”

Examples of outreach activities undertaken by students as part of the SSC programme include: 

  • placements with RNID looking at healthcare issues for the deaf and hard of hearing;
  • ‘Be prepared to give First Aid’ which provides first aid training to Scouts;
  • Multi-cultural medicine looking at the needs of the travelling community and other ethnic minorities;
  • Placements with Cruse Bereavement

Professor Sheena Lewis, who co-ordinates third-year spring SSCs, said: “Practical experience is key when it comes to training the next generation of Northern Ireland doctors and through the community placements, students have the opportunity to meet their ‘future clients’ – the people they will actually be treating.

“Not only do the students gain valuable experience from the placements, but community groups also benefit.”

One student who has benefited from the placements is medical student Nur Farahin Abdul Rahim who gained the top mark in the SSC community placements last year. Nur’s placement with children in the Short Strand Community Centre looked at the issue of bullying.

Speaking about her experience, Nur said: “SSCs are very important for students as they give us opportunities to expand specific interests within medicine. The community placement is my favourite choice of SSC because it gives you a very different experience than the normal class environment.

“My placement with the Short Strand Community Centre gave me a chance to contribute something to the community and has encouraged me to get involved in community or volunteering activities in the future.”

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