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Case Study

Jenni Ward

Stockton-On-Tees, UK

MBChB Medicine

Jenni Ward was working as a physiotherapist in a local NHS Trust when she decided to return to university as a graduate to re-train as a doctor. She was impressed by the Problem-Based Learning course structure and the facilities at the University of Sunderland, and the short distance between her home in Stockton-On-Tees and the University has meant she has been able to continue working as a physiotherapist while studying.

Before coming to the University of Sunderland, I was working as a physiotherapist in a local NHS Trust. As much as I have enjoyed physiotherapy, I found that I was much more interested in the medical side of patient care and I decided to return to university as a graduate to re-train as a doctor.

I have always lived in the North East and have always intended to stay in the North East. Sunderland is the perfect distance between my hometown of Stockton-On-Tees, and coming to the University of Sunderland has allowed me to continue to work as a bank Physiotherapist while studying.

I liked the Problem-Based Learning course structure at the University of Sunderland and felt it would suit the way I learn best. It requires independent learning and research skills but is monitored by a supervisor to ensure that you are gaining the correct level of understanding for each topic. I also really liked how the University of Sunderland uses a spiral curriculum so that in year 1 you focus on normal anatomy and physiology and then you build on this content in year 2 to gain a better understanding of medical conditions and how they affect patients.

I was also very impressed with the facilities – there is a mock hospital ward which gives you a sense of how things might be before you go out on placement, and you can build clinical skills there before seeing patients. There are also plans to build a multimillion-pound cadaveric centre to help students learn anatomy!

I have really enjoyed our clinical skills sessions that have been supported by doctors from local trusts and GP practices. So far we have learned how to take vital signs and do assessments of unwell/deteriorating patients. From this we were supported to understand some possible treatment options that might be used in different scenarios, which will help us to understand what is going on during some placements. This was really exciting because we have covered these things very early on, which means that we can revisit and build on these skills over the next five years!

I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland. Starting university in the middle of a pandemic can be quite daunting but the staff have gone out of their way to ensure everyone is managing and they are always available if we do have any problems or concerns. You can tell that the staff and University are invested in each and every student and want everyone to succeed.

So far my experience studying Medicine at Sunderland has been thoroughly enjoyable but also appropriately challenging. We have lecturers with incredible amounts of specialist knowledge that are able to teach so effectively, it makes everything we have done exciting, and they have pushed us to gain an in-depth understanding of the topics we are studying. I am very excited to see what we will learn over the next five years and what other opportunities arise at the University of Sunderland along the way!”

Published 26 January 2021

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