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From the medical school to the hospital wards

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Published on 08 September 2023

New University of Sunderland fifth year medical students with course leaders Andrea and Umar in the Trust’s education classroom
New University of Sunderland fifth year medical students with course leaders Andrea and Umar in the Trust’s education classroom

Students from a medical school set up to help support people from a range of different backgrounds to achieve their dreams of becoming doctors will start their final year in a hospital on Teesside.

The fifth and final year medical students from the University of Sunderland – the first group to get to this stage since the medical school launched in 2019 - will start their placements at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust this month.

The group of five, who have completed the national Medical Licensing Assessment (pilot) applied knowledge test (AKT) needed to work in a clinical environment, will be closely supported as they learn alongside clinical teams, gaining experience of specialisms throughout the Trust.

They will spend their first ten weeks in the wards and with clinical teams, starting in surgery, anaesthetics and emergency medicine across the organisation’s two hospital sites in Stockton and Hartlepool.

The students will be supported by teaching fellow Umar Shafiq and consultants Mr Anil Agarwal, Dr John Francis and Dr Nicky Desira.

Umar said: “We are pleased to welcome our first cohort of University of Sunderland final year medical students to the Trust, guiding and supporting them as they prepare to take their first steps as doctors, in what can be an intense and challenging time for any trainee.

“This will be a very practical and hands on year for the students. Our clinical colleagues are all here to support them through this process.

“Our students will get hands on experience, which will see them paired up with a foundation doctor and fully integrated into the clinical team. This will have them taking part in huddles and handovers, much like qualified doctors are in the first year of their foundation programme.

“Our organisation has a lot of experience supporting and developing students through our medical education programme. I am really excited for this new chapter and optimistic it will set up for future cohorts coming here.

“It’s a privilege to be able to host and guide them through the next year and to give them hands on experience whilst on the home stretch to becoming a Doctor.”

Following their first rotation, the students will spend another 10 weeks gaining experience within GP surgeries, before coming back into the Trust for their final rotations within medicine, acute medicine and critical care.

All of this will prepare the group for the completion of their medical degrees and the start of the first year of their foundation training programme next year.

Andrea Ellner, the Trust’s clinical undergraduate manager said: “The University of Sunderland’s School of Medicine first opened its doors in 2019 and has been going from strength to strength.

“It’s an exciting time as we welcome our first fifth year cohort of students and as we look to expand our faculty facilities to continue to train the doctors of the future.

“We hope that this time will be invaluable and positive experience for our new students and that they will look to continue on with us as they begin their foundation years.”

Professor Scott WilkesHead of School of Medicine and Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at the University Sunderland, said: "I’m delighted to see our fifth year medical students embark upon their clinical assistantships in North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. The early clinical years facilities, teaching and learning have received excellent student feedback. 

"I have no doubt that their experience will lead to some students selecting their F1 rotation in North Tees and Hartlepool. For the medical school this closes the virtuous circle of attracting talented students to work in areas of NHS need."