Well done to Rebecca on being a runner-up in the ‘Zeshan Qureshi Award for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education’.
Rebecca Best is a student at Cardiff University, currently intercalating in Clinical Epidemiology between her third and fourth year. She says about herself “I am passionate about emergency medicine, global health and public health and hope to pursue a career in academic medicine that will allow me to combine hands on work with individual patients and clinical research at the population level”. Rebecca’s work has focused on medical education and she has recently set up a scheme in which medical students are trained to go into schools in the Cardiff area and educate the pupils on the Human Papillomavirus vaccination. She is student lead for the ‘Prehospital and Emergency Medicine for Students’ (PEMS) scheme and as part of this has developed many excellent teaching sessions, resources and opportunities to help medical students feel more confident in their knowledge of acute care. Rebecca has also been involved with a number of other medical education projects, which she has published and presented all over the UK.
Education about the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine
In September 2015 I was elected as a UK Global Health Ambassador with the charity ‘Selfless’. As part of my role I developed a teaching programme for Year 8 pupils on the human papillomavirus vaccine.
“I was in the first cohort of girls to receive the vaccination in 2008, and remember feeling nervous and unsure of what the vaccine was for. I was shocked to hear eight years later that local teenagers still did not understand why they were receiving the vaccine”.
The teaching programme therefore aimed to educate pupils about vaccination and the HPV virus.
The feedback I received from piloting the scheme in one school was overwhelmingly positive, with many students highlighting that they felt better informed and less worried about the vaccine.
This year I decided to expand the scheme to cover all year 8 pupils in the Cardiff and Vale area. I have recruited 70 medical students from Cardiff University who will be trained in teaching school-aged children and involved local public health doctors and school nurses.
“As medical students, we should be training not only to be proficient clinicians, but also teachers”.
An integral part of life as a doctor is training the future generation, and getting experience of teaching at an early stage can only be beneficial in ensuring that the next generation of doctors are excellent medical educators. I also believe that the greatest opportunity we have to improve population healthcare is with broad based educational interventions.
Student Lead for the ‘Prehospital and Emergency Medicine for Students’ (PEMS) scheme
A scheme developed to tackle the recruitment crisis in emergency medicine.
“The programme aims to improve students’ confidence in acute care and inspire them to consider a career in emergency medicine”.
Teaching Sessions: We deliver monthly teaching sessions to medics and other healthcare students on topics such as ‘Road Traffic Collisions’, comprising of a talk from a guest speaker followed by four practical moulage stations run by medical students.
“As well as providing high quality teaching this method allows students to develop their confidence as medical educators whilst delivering teaching to their peers.”
OSCE revision: PEMS set up an acute OSCE revision day, where final year students and junior doctors run mock acute OSCE scenarios for fourth years. This has been incredibly popular and we are looking for ways to expand the programme in future years.
Shadowing: The PEMS Core Member scheme allows 35 students each year the opportunity to shadow consultants in Cardiff Emergency Department.
“The student-led teaching combined with this hands-on experience has inspired many students to pursue a career in Emergency Medicine, which we consider a real achievement.”
Research: We have provided many students with unique research opportunities in emergency and prehospital medicine. The society co-hosted the Welsh International Symposium on Emergency Medicine last May, at which I was able to present my own original research on emergency medicine recruitment. I am also leading a team of students to hold the first ever Welsh undergraduate emergency medicine conference in June 2017.
PeerWise Question Bank: The new PEMS emergency medicine branch has created an online question bank of multiple-choice emergency medicine revision questions written by students.
As older students in clinical years have raised concerns about the quality of questions written by their peers, I addressed this by developing a system of double review, whereby questions are taken off PeerWise and reviewed by a student and specialist doctor. This process is effective at improving question quality, and the participation rate from both students and doctors was high.
Equal Access for all Students
My work in medical education has been driven largely by a desire to ensure that medical students have equal access to opportunities, which is why all of the PEMS teaching sessions and the newly developed online question bank are completely free to access. I also successfully campaigned to access free places for medical students at the Welsh International Symposium on Emergency Medicine, which was previously unaffordable for many students. It has proven challenging to continuously deliver high quality teaching with no income, but with innovative thinking and generosity from the local Emergency Department, I am proud to say that PEMS teaching sessions have remained free for students.
“It has also been challenging to juggle my extracurricular work with placement, course requirements, sport and finding time to spend with family and friends. However, I find the challenge enjoyable and the work rewarding and I hope to continue contributing to medical education projects for many years to come.”