Francesca Sandman – 2016

University of Wales Cardiff

Once again I wish to start by saying thank you for your support over the years.

Last year I took out to study Pharmacology but I have returned to my medical studies this year. I spent the year following teams in different specialities, taking a few of my own clinics and helping out in surgery to get hands on experience.

The specialities I worked in were paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, neurology, care of the elderly, ear nose and throat, dermatology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology, haematology and colorectal surgery. As you can imagine it was a bit of a whirlwind of activity and learning as I only had a week with some of these placements while others I had 5 weeks and for each speciality there is so much to learn. By far my favourites were working with children in paediatrics and my ophthalmology placement.

It was slightly stressful going back into medicine after a year out, the consultants expect so much from you and ask you so many questions, feeling no remorse when you can only make a guess and they embarrass you in front of the whole team. I had to work really hard to get back up to scratch. I had 7 exams spread out over the year. Four of these were practical exams called OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations) where you must see a patient or an actor and either interview or examine them to come to a diagnosis. This is done under time pressure and under the supervision of an examiner who assesses your performance and then quizzes you on your knowledge.

The other three were written papers which tested knowledge and understanding of diseases, management plans and medications. These made up my end of 4th year medical exams and also my first set of finals for 5th year of which I have another 2 sets next year.

Over the course of the year I managed to gain many new sets of skills from taking an arterial blood sample to assisting in surgery on very sick patients and I have vastly improved my examination skills along with my diagnostic abilities. I am happy to report that I managed to pass all of my exams and so now only need to finish my final year before they set me loose, giving me the real responsibility of patients’ lives. I am very much looking forward to finally working and I am pleased to say that over the last 5 years I have only grown to love what I am doing more and more.

Thank you all again for your support and also for reading my report if you got this far through it!

Francesca graduated as a Doctor on December the 8th.




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