Upper Sixth student Hannah Krakolining is now in her second year at d’Overbroeck’s Sixth Form. One of her goals during this academic year is to secure the offer of a place studying Medicine at one of the UK’s top universities. To this end, she undertook both a medical training project in London over the summer break as well as securing work experience at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Hannah applied to d’Overbroeck’s Sixth Form already knowing that she wanted to go on to study Medicine and become a Doctor. Work experience being one of the key criteria for application to medical school, Hannah started applying early. She met all the given deadlines for applications and was therefore surprised to find she was receiving replies saying that the hospital or department was already oversubscribed. She says that her Director of Studies, Jaimie Tarrell, has been extremely helpful in advising and supporting her through her first year of A Levels. However, Hannah points out that, hospitals don’t accept applications via schools, only directly from students, so although teachers can advise on who and how to approach, the enquiry has to come from the student themselves.
Eventually, Hannah secured 5 days of work experience in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. In fact the JR had already turned her down for a work placement when she met a consultant from the Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine team at d’Overbroeck’s Careers Evening in June. After chatting with Hannah, the consultant encouraged her to apply again, which she did – following up with calls and emails – and towards the end of the summer holidays she finally heard that she’d been accepted (she later learned that she was the first work experience student they’d taken into that unit).
During her time with the Fetal Medicine Unit, Hannah was able to observe a number of ultrasound scans on expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies. She also witnessed an in-utero fetal blood transfusion (a procedure which is only carried out around 25 times a year at the JR) and attended consultations in the diabetes clinic for women whose babies had developed gestational diabetes. She says she was struck by the way the doctors were able to talk with empathy to patients and then switch to clinical focus when carrying out a procedure, as well as how calm they were able to appear in high-stress situations.
Earlier in the summer, Hannah had also attended a week-long course with The London Medical Project which helps prepare students of Sixth Form age for medical applications. She and other students in her group spent time in the teaching departments of several London hospitals, including King’s Hospital and Imperial College. They worked in teams in simulation suites where they could question a dummy ‘patient’ to establish a medical profile and their instructor, operating the dummy remotely, would respond as the ‘patient’. They also learned about interpreting cardiograms and X-rays as well as aspects of mental health and ethics. Throughout the week they were accompanied by a Junior Doctor and they also met with medical students from UCL and an Army Doctor who talked to them about alternative routes to pursue Medicine within the Armed Forces.
Back at d’Overbroeck’s, Hannah is continuing to work on her Extended Project which is entitled “Will uterine transplantation replace surrogacy as a treatment for MRKH syndrome? She has decided to apply in particular to universities offering systems-based medical courses (where systems in the body, such as the circulatory system, are studied in terms of the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, all at once).
Jaimie Tarrell says, “Hannah is one of our top students. The application process for medical courses is always tough but judging by Hannah’s performance in the large number of practice interviews we have been conducting, she should impress at the up-coming interviews that she been invited to.”
“* Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome