Hi my name is Lizzie and I’m a first year med student studying at the University of Lincoln.

Time has flown since I last posted; we are in another lockdown (but good news about 21st June!) and we are already in week 7 of the second semester.

This semester is structured differently to the first one; each week there is a different case which all our lectures and anatomy etc are then based around. The first theme we had was Respiratory and Cardiovascular Medicine (RCM), lasting for 6 weeks, which consisted of conditions such as asthma, heart failure and hypertension. Every day, another section of the case gets released, for example, the blood test and x-ray results might then be available and you have to have a go at interpreting them. On Fridays we have a round up session called a plenary to recap the case and learn more about the condition for that week. These are 2-hour sessions with a guest speaker (usually a local GP or consultant) which is amazing, considering how busy everyone is at the moment!

During this lockdown, lots of people have been unable to go to school or university so it is a privilege that we have been able to continue with being on campus and having regular face to face teaching. So far, we have had 2 clinical skills sessions: learning how to do a respiratory and a cardiovascular examination on each other. Scrubs, masks, visors, aprons and gloves have to be worn on arrival into the clinical skills lab but both of these exams required taking our tops off to properly locate landmarks such as where to hear the apex beat (5th intercostal space in the midclavicular line!)

Something else that’s new this semester is anatomy. We have had a session on a Monday most weeks this term, which has been very good to visualise the diagrams in the textbook but also to talk to people in real life! Because of the COVID-19 situation, you do have to do a lot of independent work before hand to get the most out of these sessions, as they are quite short. We have a workbook with activities in to do before, during and after the session (but I usually do them all before because there isn’t really much time to write anything down whilst you are there). There is also pre-reading from the Essential Clinical Anatomy textbook, videos to help explain and radiology (CT and x-ray) images to interpret as well for each week.

On Fridays we have an introduction to the structures we are expected to see in the anatomy suite, and then the workbook work is done over the weekend before the session on Monday. Whilst in the anatomy suite, there are usually 5/6 stations that we go around, each with their own tasks.  A few of the stations will be prosections (sections of cadavers which have been prepared already so you don’t need to do any dissecting yourself) and the facilitators will help you out with identifying different structures. The other stations involve plastic models, plastic bones and surface anatomy (e.g finding the sternal angle on yourself). The good thing about the way that our anatomy is structured, is that every week there will be a station related to things you did in previous weeks, so that you are consolidating your learning.

One downside to anatomy though, is that if one person tests positive for COVID-19 then the whole group must self isolate for a week. I’m currently on my last day stuck inside, after finding out we had to isolate straight after finishing our formative exam!

It hasn’t all been academic though: my flatmate dyed my hair pink (it is temporary but 5 washes in my hair is still pink/purple!), I joined a new society (craft club), painted new things to go on my pinboard and also uploaded more covers to Instagram!

I hope you enjoyed this new blog post, and I’ll be back with another one soon!