Pupils get a taste of what it’s like to work in a hospital

From left, Mariamne Gordon-Pullar from Portsmouth Grammar School, general surgery consultant Simon Toh and Emily Tidby from Meoncross School try keyhole surgery ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151714-657)
From left, Mariamne Gordon-Pullar from Portsmouth Grammar School, general surgery consultant Simon Toh and Emily Tidby from Meoncross School try keyhole surgery ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151714-657)

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Anew wave of potential doctors, surgeons and nurses all had a look and go at what it could be like to have a career in medicine.

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham has a training unit called the Simulation Centre.

Resuscitation officer Anne Williams leads a CPR session for young people from Kingscourt School Catherington - Thomas Millard, Solomon Hardcastle, James Restell, Felix Reyes and Joel Lewis''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151713-631)

Resuscitation officer Anne Williams leads a CPR session for young people from Kingscourt School Catherington - Thomas Millard, Solomon Hardcastle, James Restell, Felix Reyes and Joel Lewis''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151713-631)

And within that is the specialist Victory Institute for Minimal Access and Robotic Surgery unit that gives people tutorials on robotic surgery.

On a training day, 37 pupils from seven schools in south-east Hampshire got the chance to experience what it might be like to work as a medical professional at QA.

And the first job of the day was learning how to stitch up a wound.

Grace Harrison-Tate, 16, is a Year 12 student from Meoncross School in Fareham, and wants to go into veterinary medicine.

She said: ‘I want to be a vet and thought it would be interesting to come to this training day as some of the skills will be transferable.

‘I had a go at stitching which was fiddlier than it might first look.

‘There was definitely room for improvement and I’m glad I got to experience that.’

Louise McMenemy is a core surgical trainer for the Ministry of Defence’s medical unit at QA.

She said: ‘We taught the students how to hold the needle and how to stitch safely.

‘It’s one of the most basic skills everyone will learn because it’s useful for many medical professions. For instance someone coming in because of a cut would need to use it, all the way to someone undergoing surgery.

‘I think the day helped students get a feel for medicine and what it involves.

‘All of them were very enthusiastic and interested in what they saw.’

The students worked alongside a pathologist to detect cancer from specimens, as well as learning how to interpret X-rays and CT scans like a radiologist.

Students came from Portsmouth Grammar School, Wycliffe College, Priory School, Meoncross School, Churcher’s College, St Edmund’s School and Oaklands School.

They learnt how to insert a needle into a vein to give intravenous fluids, and practise keyhole surgery using actual instruments.

Simon Toh is a consultant surgeon and director of Vimars, and a lead surgeon for the Da Vinci robot.

He said: ‘This is an exciting new venture to inspire school students between the ages of 15 to 17, who are considering a career in medicine.

‘The session allowed the students to try out the actual clinical skills that are needed to be a surgeon, radiologist, pathologist, anaesthetist or intensive care worker.

‘This was alongside learning vital skills such as resuscitation, and speaking to medical students and junior doctors to get a real insight into what life is like when training and working in the medical profession.’

Pupils used a robotic keyhole surgery machine to navigate around a mock body and have a go at making incisions.

Emily Tidby, 15, a Year 11 pupil from Meoncross School, said: ‘I want to be a paediatric nurse so signed up for the training day.

‘It was the first time I had done anything so practical and I found it very interesting.

‘The keyhole surgery was more difficult and fiddly than I thought it would be.

‘But I was glad we had a go and it wasn’t just theory but practical too.’

The youngsters felt inspired by what they experienced, which also included learning how to put a tube into the windpipe to help a patient breathe.

Monideep Ghosh, 15, a Year 11 student from Portsmouth Grammar School, said: ‘I went to the training day as I wanted to see what I can pick for my options.

‘I was very interested in hearing about the work that goes on in pathology, and I’m glad I came along.’

And Barney Carter, 15, also a Year 11 student from Portsmouth Grammar School, said: ‘I want to be a surgeon and this session was extremely helpful as I learnt a lot.’

CPR skills

PRIMARY school pupils had a chance to get some experience doing CPR.

Separate to the training day, pupils from Kingscourt School in Catherington got a sample of the vital life-saving skill in the atrium of Queen Alexandra Hospital.

They worked with resuscitation staff at QA and learnt how to identify if someone might need CPR, how to carry it out and what to do after you start CPR.

Joel Lewis, 10, is a Year 6 pupil at the school.

He says: ‘I came here last year and learnt the CPR, so it was really good to have a refresher on it.

‘I learnt that you go over and try and talk to the person who has collapsed to see if they will respond.

‘You would also call 999 and see if other people around could help you.

‘Then you would start the chest compressions and we learnt how fast to do that and the pressure to apply.’

Joining him was classmate James Restell, also 10.

He says: ‘I found it quite difficult to keep the pace going on the chest compressions, so it’s good to have a second person with you.

‘It’s definitely a good skill to learn as you never know when you might need it.’

Anne Williams is a resuscitation officer at QA and helped carry out the workshop.

She says: ‘For every 30 seconds someone goes without help, then their chances of survival decrease.

‘This is why it’s important to start straight away and those were the skills being taught to these pupils.’