Welcome to ScotGEM Stories!

Welcome to ScotGEM Stories, a new multimedia blog designed to allow medical students of the new Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine programme to share their experiences of studying medicine in the unique, remote & rural context of our course.

Come and visit regularly to find posts, photos and videos created by us as students, as well as other content like interviews with teaching and clinical staff involved with the programme.

This site is built and run by students and open to the world.  Please get in touch via the Contact Us page – or visit the official course page if you are interested in joining us on the ScotGEM journey!

Intubation Guy

One quarter of the way to becoming a doctor, and 6 weeks into the 2nd year of ScotGEM (Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine), I have finished up in Dumfries & Galloway (D&G) and started in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. As with 1st year, I have been based in a local GP practice each week but with the added experience of hospital exposure with a variety of different placements.

As our first block this year has been ‘Birth & Early Years’, we have had some experience across obstetrics, paediatrics and neonates. While I have genuinely enjoyed my time in D&G, the best experiences I had during my time there were in my neonatal placements, where I was able to see two emergency neonatal intubations. One of them occurred just as I was about to help clerk in a new patient when the call came through that an extremely preterm baby had unexpectedly been delivered and was en route to the hospital. I was able to go with the team to A&E, observe their management of the baby in the resus bay and the preparation required to intubate the patient – and finally the successful intubation and umbilical catheterisation. I was able to help as well by recording times drugs were delivered and when readings were taken, but most crucially I was on hand to silence the incredibly irritating, piercing alarm one of the machines kept making every minute (which I was genuinely thanked for when everything had been stabilised and the drama was over).

I was so impressed with how calm everyone was, how tasks were designated clearly and how much skill each member of the team demonstrated in making sure this baby could have the best outcome possible. It was amazing to get this experience, to feel a part of the team and useful in some small ways and to see where the skills I am being taught right now could eventually lead to in the future. However, with not one – but two – intubations occurring when I was on the ward in such a short space of time, I think everyone is quietly happy that ‘intubation guy’ has moved to the other side of the country, for now.

Summer in the Highlands

Hello, my name is Jessica – I am one of the 2nd year ScotGEM students who has recently been on rotation away up in Inverness. I had originally picked my rotation to experience the Highlands in ‘the Summer’ – I think we maybe missed the few sunny days that must’ve passed because we did see a lot of rain, but it took a lot more than summer showers to rain on our parade!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Inverness, it was really exciting to head straight up at the beginning of second year and something I had been looking forward to for months now. Moving around like we do in ScotGEM is a real privilege and very exciting. It’s a great opportunity to not only see all different corners of Scotland and live in places I maybe wouldn’t have before – but also proves an excellent learning opportunity to see how the different health boards work. For me, I think this a really attractive part of the course.

For the past 6 weeks we have been studying a “Birth and Early Years” block. This has meant a collection of cases surrounding paediatrics and obstetrics mainly, with experience in primary care and in secondary care placements. I enjoyed the variety of my placements, some of which involved travelling to centres such as Dingwall, Culloden and Nairn. A real highlight from my time in Inverness was the opportunity to scrub in on a C-section on placement, something I could never have imagined I would be doing at this point in our medical education. It was a real buzz and such a privilege to witness childbirth and to be so close to the action. I’m very grateful to the staff at Raigmore for making the time for us (and my perpetual questions!). In addition to superb placements, we also had a very engaging clinical mentor who kept us on our toes with expert patients and also made sure we saw lots of relevant patients to our case that week.

That being said it wasn’t all placements and studying – we also managed to scope out a lot of what Inverness and the Highlands had to offer; from delicious ice cream to the best spot for dolphin sightings. I did eventually get my dose of Highland sun as the rotation came to an end, as I took a big detour down to Dumfries to visit the North West Coast which was really special.

Next stop Dumfries!