My first medical placement

We’ve just finished our first clinical apprenticeship (placement). This is our first opportunity to spend a few weeks on a hospital ward, become part of a medical team, and get some hands-on experience with patients in the real world!

For my placement I was sent to Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli, working with the cardiology team that cover both cardiac and acute medical problems, and the experience was just fascinating! Although I have had the opportunity to experience various clinical specialities on my LOCS, this was my first chance to set myself up on a ward over a number of weeks, and to follow the full experience of receiving, diagnosing and treating patients in a hospital setting.

As well as getting to gain and test my clinical knowledge, during my time on the ward I was able to practice some of the practical skills that we have been taught in ICM (mostly taking blood and cannulation, with the odd clinical examination). I also chatted to as many patients as I could, taking as much time with them as needed to get their full story. I would love to go into detail about the vast variety of interesting cases that I witnessed during this 5 week placement, but for confidentiality reasons i think this would be inappropriate. It was fascinating to learn the stories of these people, to try to understand a little about how they ended up in the ward, and in some cases to have real emotional discussions about what the future had in store. It is a privilege to be able to work with people when they are at their most vulnerable, and we are very lucky in Swansea to get this sort of exposure so early on in our careers.

For anyone looking to come to Swansea this is a key reason why it is becoming so highly regarded amongst Medical schools. With a small cohort, we get intense teaching and the opportunity to experience the NHS very early on. If you believe that learning Medicine as an apprenticeship will suit you, I would say Swansea is very much the place for you!

As for me, I have had an entire week off to rest and re-cooperate ready for our next set of exams. And what better way to relax than exploring a bit of nature!┬áThe picture below is from one of my walks in Oxwich bay, and there’s plenty more where that came from. When the sun is shining there are few places as stunning as the Gower, and we’re very lucky to have all of this on our doorstep.

Until next time, hwyl fawr!


Alex Ruddy

Hi I'm Alex, I'm a current 2nd year GEM (graduate entry medicine) student at Swansea University. I graduated from Swansea in BSc Medical Biochemistry in 2015, and after a year out working in the ABMU I decided to come back to study GEM. Hopefully this blog will help anyone looking to apply to GEM here, please get in touch if you have any questions you feel I can answer!

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