St George's, University of London Medicine Personal Statement Example
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by David Brill


PERSONAL STATEMENT


SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT TO ST GEORGE'S, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON, 2014-2018


As a medical journalist, I’ve devoted my career to learning and writing about medicine. But I’m no longer content to remain on the outside looking in. I want to become a doctor myself, and I believe my skills, professional experience and personality are ideally suited.

I am currently clinical news editor of Australian Doctor, the leading magazine for Australia’s 25,000 general practitioners. My job is to find the latest research and put it into context. This combines my strong science background with a limitless fascination for medicine. Like today’s doctor, I must constantly appraise emerging evidence, from case reports to Cochrane reviews, and relate it to clinical practice.

I’ve written over a thousand articles in my career, including for the British Medical Journal, Lancet and Nature, and been shortlisted for two of Australia’s top journalism awards. I’ve attended prestigious international conferences such as the European Society of Cardiology 2013 and American Diabetes Association 2012 – reporting on everything from clinical trials of cardiac stents to debates on the spiralling cost of healthcare. But as my academic understanding has grown, I’ve become increasingly aware of what I’m missing: the opportunity to apply this knowledge to curing illness and alleviating people’s suffering. This is the true goal of medicine; it excites me enormously, and recent work experience has only galvanised my desire to be practising this myself.

A highlight was shadowing a respiratory registrar during bronchoscopy at London’s Royal Free Hospital. I was struck by how well he articulated the procedure’s risks and benefits to each patient in a kind, reassuring way, despite a heavy workload. The case mix was varied and interesting: most memorably a long and gruelling procedure on a heavily sedated patient, involving nurses, intensivists and anaesthetists. This showed me how, even under huge pressure, different specialties pull together to keep the patient as the focus of care.

 

Shadowing a GP in Sydney has deepened my appreciation of primary care and the role of holistic, preventative medicine. The chance to build lasting therapeutic relationships looks every bit as rewarding as hospital medicine. This has been reinforced by my Saturday volunteer work at an old age home, getting to know the residents and assisting them with everyday tasks. Here, patience, respect and a kind smile can go a long way to easing people’s problems.


Medicine demands communication skills and an ability to gain trust – particular strengths of mine as a journalist. Last week I covered an especially complex story about the sudden sacking of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ ethics committee. This involved asking probing questions, listening carefully, maintaining confidentiality, distilling key facts and reaching a logical conclusion, explained succinctly in plain English. My work experience has taught me these exact skills are required for taking a history and making a diagnosis.


A good doctor should also be professional, innovative, a leader and a team player. I have demonstrated these qualities at Australian Doctor by working across a large editorial team, mentoring junior colleagues, running regular training sessions and driving our adaptation from print to online. I am also adept at using social media – an increasingly vital tool for medical education. I never shy away from learning new skills: in the past two years I’ve completed management training and taken up shorthand, photography and tennis. 


Working daily with our in-house GPs, I’ve gained a realistic view of medicine as a career and the pressures doctors face, from bureaucracy to burnout. Studying medicine will be a huge challenge, but I have no doubts about my decision. I plan to move back to the UK permanently next year and will return especially for any interviews before then. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to channel my skills into looking after patients myself – not just writing about those who do.



I'm David, author of Making a Medic: The Ultimate Guide to Medical School (special offer below). In a series of blogs on RemarxsI'll be sharing helpful hints and tips on how to conquer medical school, including honing your study skills, getting the most out of clinical placements and bossing your OSCEs. As someone who's just been there and done it myself, I'll show you how I studied effectively, saved time, got top marks (and won a prize!) and landed my pick of jobs in one of the UK's most competitive deaneries, all whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance, raising a young family and keeping up with various sports and hobbies. 


For loads more advice on how to ace medical school check out my book Making a Medic: The Ultimate Guide to Medical School. It covers everything from preclinical years to finals, including OSCEs, written exams, the SJT and PSA.

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And as a special offer for Remarxs readers, you can now buy Making a Medic for the bargain discount price of just £10. Available at: http://www.scionpublishing.com/medic      

    
Originally published 13 November 2019 , updated 09/12/2019

About the Author

FY2 junior doctor in North London and author of Making a Medic: The Ultimate Guide to Medical School. Sharing regular tips on how to survive medical school without going insane in the process. Graduated St George's, University of London 2018 with three distinctions, one merit and the Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics prize. Remarxs blogger since Oct 2019.

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