Celine Sooknarine

My year with the MCh in Surgical Science and Practice programme has been a truly extraordinary and fulfilling one. I decided to take this course to better prepare myself for clinical surgical practice so that if, and when, opportunities presented themselves, I would be ready, willing, and confident in taking them on. The contents of the course have prepared me for all aspects of clinical practice and have helped me to become more confident in all aspects of medicine and surgery.

The teaching that we received in this course was second-to-none and has fostered and moulded us all into better, more proficient, and capable doctors. Particularly, this level of surgical skills teaching is something I never experienced in my undergraduate career. We learned and practiced everything from the surgical basics of suturing, knot tying, and laparoscopic skills, to more advanced procedures in cardiothoracics, orthopedics, urology and so many more. We get hands-on, individualised feedback from practicing consultants in the respective areas of the skills we are practicing about how to perfect our skills. This allows us to go into clinical practice knowing what is expected of us and how to perform at a level that instils trust and respect.

The non-technical skills taught in this course have helped to promote an environment of attentiveness and empathy. Perfecting my skills, whether they be ISBAR, breaking bad news, or having difficult conversations with both patients and colleagues, can only serve to benefit my future career. This area can be overlooked or underemphasised in medical teaching, and I am grateful that it is such a prominent aspect of this course. It is not taught alone; it is included in every aspect of our teaching. This allows us to develop our skills in all aspects of medicine and surgery with non-technical skills kept in mind.

This course has also encouraged and promoted sound decision-making based on clinical cases. We talk through all aspects of the case, no matter how small, and discuss all possible management options. This allows us to develop decision-making skills rather than memorising the investigations and treatment of a condition. Surgery is all about understanding and this course has helped to strengthen my clinical decision-making skills by increasing my abilities to logically work through the pros and cons of each treatment of a case.

The MCh in Surgical Science and Practice also supplements our surgical teaching with learning in other aspects of healthcare. Through this course, we gain experience in global surgery, healthcare management, clinical governance, research skills, ethics and so much more. This has been a particularly interesting and useful addition to the course as it helps us to grow holistically and completely. This programme has something for everyone, and it shows in the sheer number of areas in healthcare that we were introduced to in this course.

During this last year, I have studied for both USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK. By the end of it, I will have written both exams. The programme has been very accommodating to allow for the studying and completing of these exams. Furthermore, other students managed to study for and complete the MRCS part A or part B during this course.

Finally, one very prominent and inspiring aspect of this course is the environment our teachers promote. They want to see us do well and are very helpful in developing our future. They promote a nurturing and supportive environment that helps us excel in our chosen future careers. For this, particularly, I am incredibly grateful.

I recommend that anyone interested in surgery, or even just wanting to further their medical knowledge and become better doctors, strongly consider this worthwhile and extraordinary programme.

Dr Celine Sooknarine, MCh in Surgical Science and Practice, Class of 2022