University of Southampton: Preparing for final exams and FY1

We spoke to Olivia Etter, who is in her final year studying medicine at the University of Southampton.

By Olivia Etter
Sep 08, 2021

Keen to find out more about Olivia, we asked a few questions on what made her choose to become a doctor and her degree.

“I’m studying a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degree at the University of Southampton, training to be a doctor. I’m on a 5-year course, and have just started my final year.“I chose medicine as a course and a vocation for a mixture of reasons, I love people and interacting with people as part of my work every day appealed to me, I also enjoyed studying science at school and the problem-solving aspect of medicine was attractive. Medicine opens up a number of opportunities to focus on pursuing specialist or more generalist roles as a doctor. I have spent the last five years learning about medical science and its application in the real world, learning that will continue throughout my career.”

Interested to hear more from Olivia on her experiences from the placement year as a student doctor, she told us that:

“As a student doctor on hospital placement, we are expected to gain exposure to a wide range of patients and conditions, in order to prepare us for our next step as foundation doctors. This practical experience is complemented by BMJ Best Practice, which provides access to the latest evidence-based information.”

“Conditions are presented in a clinical context which is easy to apply to real life situations. This is essential for medical students because traditional textbooks and learning methods can be hard to apply to real life on the wards. “

Olivia Etter

Knowing that Olivia is benefiting from the use of BMJ Best Practice early on in her career, we asked how Olivia heard about the tool and how she uses it.

“An email from my University alerted me to BMJ Best Practice and I now use the tool to research conditions I see on placement or in preparation for exams. The fact sheets on the website have helped me revise most areas of my fourth year studies, including paediatrics, acute care, ophthalmology, psychiatry, obstetrics & gynaecology, dermatology and neurology.”

“I personally find BMJ Best Practice the most effective resource for accessing guidance on diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention. It is concise and well laid out.”

We asked Olivia to tell us how she applies new knowledge from BMJ Best Practice into practice:

“By prioritising and ordering both investigations and risk factors, I can consider which investigation would be appropriate to do next and what’s the biggest factor that may be contributing to a condition. The information is presented in a way doctors are trained to think. We are taught to look at the patients’ presentation of symptoms and systematically decide what investigations to order and the next steps in management.”

“The information is presented in a way doctors are trained to think. We are taught to look at the patients’ presentation of symptoms and systematically decide what investigations to order and the next steps in management.”

Olivia Etter

“Through the BMJ Best Practice app, I’m able to quickly look up conditions I see on the wards or in clinic. This ‘background’ reading equips me with the knowledge and confidence to clearly explain a condition to a patient. BMJ Best Practice has helped me understand conditions I’d previously found confusing.”

“Conditions are presented in a clinical context which is easy to apply to real life situations. This is essential for medical students because traditional textbooks and learning methods can be hard to apply to real life on the wards. “

Olivia explained the importance of both medical students and doctors being familiar with evidence based guidelines and added: “With BMJ Best Practice I’m able to access the latest evidence, alongside updates as guidelines change.”

“As a medical student you are constantly learning and absorbing information. You need to be able to research conditions, but one of the biggest challenges for medical students is having access to accurate, timely information. It is easy to get lost, or indeed misled looking for up to date management of a condition in research papers. A resource like BMJ Best Practice can help provide extra reassurance and confidence.”

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