Year 13 Visit to QUB Medical Symposium

On Wednesday 13 February, 8 Glenlola Year 13 prospective Medicine students were lucky enough to be able to attend the 2013 Queen’s University Medical Symposium. We started the day with a talk from the Admissions Dean for Medicine, where we learnt about all the necessary entry criteria for Queen’s University and some interesting facts about studying Medicine in general – one of which being that there is a numbers increase in female applicants than male applicants, something that was a little reassuring for us girls!

Next we learnt about some of the different career pathways you can take if you study Medicine and got to hear about what life is actually like when working as a Forensic Pathologist. In this lecture we learnt about the investigative work that it entails and how that it’s not a job that’s just related with homicide victims but also alcoholism, trauma and more! It was really interesting, especially as we got to see some images of different wounds and injuries!

After that first talk, we got to visit the Anatomy lab. Here we got to look at different specimens of organs and other body parts that had been affected by all sorts of illnesses and diseases. We also were able to view several different scans and samples of blood, skin and many other things. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any photographs of Neurofibromatosis of the hand, but some of us were able to get a picture taken with the new friend we made!


When we were first told of our visit, we didn’t really expect that we’d get to inflict pain upon each other and laugh as we watch one of our friends twitch and jump as they received an electric shock to the arm as we got to perform an Electromyography on them … but that is exactly what we did in our visit to the Physiology lab! Although it was fun to have a good laugh at our classmate’s expense, we learnt the difference in electrical activity of the skeletal muscles when the person themselves is moving their pinkie finger, and the contrast when someone moves it for them. We also got to take part in another practical activity in the Physiology lab called a Vitalograph which measures the lung capacity. This practical once again involved the slight humiliation of fellow classmates as they were told to take a deep breath before blowing as hard as they could into a tube which produces the results on a graph. As you can expect, there were quite a few red faces after that one!

All of the excitement left us ready for lunch and after a very informative question and answer session we got to have a break before returning to the lecture theatre to hear about what life is like in some of the other careers allied to Medical. Firstly, we had a talk from a GP where we found out that the job doesn’t just involve the stereotypical doctor we visit when we’re feeling unwell, but that it’s a field of medicine which has many different and complex areas! Next we got to hear about the challenging opportunities if you decide to work in Medical Research. In this talk we learnt about the different phases of clinical trials and some of the current research going on into different chemotherapy drugs. We also got to hear of a happy story about a dog named “Lancelot” who was genetically born completely blind, but as a result of medical research, was able to receive a treatment that enabled him to see shadows! It was really great to see how hard work and dedicated research can pay off! We then got to hear what 2 current students thought about studying Medicine and Queen’s University. Our final two talks were from an obstetrician and a surgeon where we told of some of the more ethical situations which currently cause controversy, such as designer babies and quality of life versus survival. We also learnt about the importance of teamwork if you are considering a career in Medicine.

We all really enjoyed our day out and found it not only really interesting but useful to hear about some of the amazing opportunities there are if you decide to study Medicine or Biomedical Science! It has really challenged us.