Medical students in the West Midlands are gaining valuable experience through their involvement in the 100,000 Genomes Project.

Forty students from the University of Birmingham have been enlisted to help with the initiative – gaining additional exposure to the clinical environment as well as knowledge of wide NHS functions.

Jenny Young, a 21-year-old third-year Medicine and Surgery student from Nottingham, worked full-time on the project for six months at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and still helps out on a part-time basis around her studies.

Other students have been engaged on 12-month flexible clinical attachment in genomics medicine at University Hospitals Birmingham, Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Jenny was the first student to recruit a patient to the project and believes that being involved will be of great benefit to her studies and subsequent career in medicine.

“It was a real privilege to be given the chance to work on the 100,000 genome project,” she said.

“It has given me a lot of amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had, such as sitting in on rare disease clinics, getting exposure to diseases and patient cohorts that I’ve never seen before.

“I’ve consented patients to the project, which has been fun and also given me great experience in gaining informed consent and the challenges of recruitment to research projects.

“I have also met lots of new people, members of staff and patients alike, and been able to practice clinical skills such as taking blood.

“Working with consultants, nurses and different clinical teams around the hospital as well as talking to patients has been a great experience and really built my confidence.

“Before I had only ever seen the front line but I’ve had a glimpse of all the administration and management work that goes into healthcare and all of the support staff without whom the hospital could not run.

“It has highlighted to me how much manpower goes into a hospital and I’ve also started to realise the financial side of the NHS too.

“I feel lucky to have had the chance to work with a fabulous and supportive multi-disciplinary team. The experience has been invaluable and I’m sure it will benefit me as both a medical student and in the future as a practicing clinician.”

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