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doc2doc interviews... David.Jones
What made you want to study medicine?
From the age of 5-14 years I wanted to be a detective. I loved the idea of finding clues and using expert knowledge to put them together; then experiencing the great "aha" moment once you've realised what's happened. Then at the age of 14 I joined the RAF cadets and developed a real taste for the team-working and camaraderie found in the military. This led me to join the Paramedic Science degree programme at Herfordshire Uni; but, whilst driving on "blues" was an unbeatable thrill, I became frustrated that my job ended at the hospital and I was never able to follow through and see my patients make a full recovery. I 'took the plunge' and began phoning medical schools all over London 6 years ago, to ask if they would consider giving me a shot. I was 22 years old, with only 2 A levels but a lot of pre-hospital and hospital work experience, and a DipHE in Health Science. St. George's, accepted me on the condition that I successfully complete a 1 year foundation programme prior to entry. I'm a fourth year student now with an intercalated degree. Through medicine I believe I can fulfill my desire to be a detective, team-player, and healer.
What specialties are you interested in?
Though I'm keeping an open mind I loved my placements in General Medicine and Geriatrics. I've seen general medics on placement, and love the way they can have a more specialised area (e.g. Endocrine, Geriatrics) and yet encounter a broader range of conditions on call and on Acute Medical Units.
What’s been the most important lesson you've learnt as a medical student?
Don't let medicine take over your life: a) It isn't healthy, b) it doesn't make for a well-rounded human being, c) it's not fair on your loved ones, d) you'll perform better if you're happy anyway!
What has been your best moment at medical school?
Holding the hand of a demented, disorientated, and frightened elderly lady and seeing it calm her down. The best 'medicine' is the stuff people of all grades and trades can do. I hope I don't forget that, or get too busy to utilise the therapeutic effect of appropriate touch.
And your worst?
Burning myself out completely after my second year from being over-competitive, working too hard and too long without breaks/holidays, convincing myself I was never good enough, and neglecting my family, my wife, and myself.
What advice would you give students considering applying to medical school?
Don't give up because your not privately schooled or don't have the traditional qualifications.
What’s been your favourite doc2doc discussion of all time?
'Whistleblowing - worthwhile or the road to ruin?' I agree with recent Student BMJ articles - what medicine needs is strong leaders... but strong leaders are men and women willing to stick their head over the parapet - and we all know that some of them end up paying a huge and unfair price for standing for truth and justice. These 'strong leaders' must also be courageous.
What do you do with your time when you when not studying?
Study theology, blog, read, watch comedy, listen to funk and blues, hiking and biking.