The Medical Specialist Group has stepped in to provide extra placements, known as electives, for medical students who are struggling to find a hospital to carry out their training due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In previous years, less than ten electives have been arranged each year, normally for an eight-week period, but for the year ahead 24 students have already been accepted and more are expected to apply.
The electives, which usually take place during the fourth year of the five-year medical degree, are essential for students to see how their learning is applied in real situations. Students tend to do their placements abroad but with Covid-19 travel restrictions, many have had their electives postponed or cancelled.
“We are keen to support the learning of the next generation of doctors and provide them with the opportunity to do an elective which is being denied to a lot of students right now due to Covid-19,” says Dr Clare Betteridge, consultant paediatrician, who also runs the MSG’s Taste of Medicine course for sixth formers.
“We can only take on a limited number of students at a time, but we do our best to support and provide them with alternative dates if possible. We hope that some will love the island and want to return to work here in the future.”
Eva Papaionnou, a medical student from Bristol, said, “Choosing to do my final year elective at the MSG in Guernsey was one of the best decisions I have made! The consultants and hospital staff in the obstetrics and gynaecology and paediatric teams were so welcoming and very enthused by having students around. It was nice to feel appreciated and part of the team as well as to learn from senior members of the team.
“It was great to have an insight into a professional medical career on a small, gorgeous island and returning as a doctor is definitely something I will consider in the future”
Pippa Richardson (shown in the main picture), also from Bristol, added, “Due to Covid-19 our cohort were informed we were not allowed outside the UK for our elective. The lack of students travelling abroad meant limited opportunities for clinical electives in the UK.
“I hadn’t been to Guernsey before and was intrigued by the different medical system and how the hospital functioned without junior doctors. My placement was split between obstetrics and gynaecology, and paediatrics. Before the placement, I was given a lot of valuable information to assist with the transition to the PEH.
“During the eight weeks I was very well supported by all members of staff and found there was a large amount of camaraderie between multidisciplinary teams. The one-to-one opportunity with consultants was engaging and unique to Guernsey. They were all very enthusiastic to teach and give me the ‘hands on’ experience I was looking for, alongside providing information about applications and further opportunities for a career in medicine.
“I’d definitely recommend an elective in Guernsey to anyone interested in applying.”