What's it like in North Wales (Wrexham) for placement?
In this quickfire blog Q&A, Antonia Ashaye (Year 5) shares her experience of being in North Wales (Bangor)!
Which placement block did you go to Wrexham for?
My first placement block of Year 3 was in Wrexham Maelor Hospital for the 8 weeks of oncology and surgery (O&S) placement. The medical school offered free transport from Cardiff to Wrexham and back at the start and end of placement. I chose to drive to Wrexham and there were very good parking facilities there. During my time, there I lived in a house on the hospital site with the 5 other 3rd year medical students who were on placement there. I was very fortunate that 3 of the medical students were already either my friends and/or my housemates in Cardiff.
How was the block organised?
I truly enjoyed my O&S block because of how well-organised it was and how much support the medical education office at Wrexham Maelor gave to us. The block was split into 8 parts which equated to a different surgical specialty per week (breast, lung, colorectal, upper GI, urology and ENT). During each week, we were assigned to a different consultant surgeon or oncologist and we attended clinics, theatres, ward rounds and had relevant teaching sessions. My placement partner and I were even able to attend theatres at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital for a day to get some Cardiothoracic surgery experience.
As a group, the 3rd year medical students also had weekly clinical skills teaching with a tutor who also arranged 2 simulation sessions. What I liked the most about my placement there was the fact that not only were students allowed to go to any ward to practice clerking patients during our timetabled self-directed learning periods but we were also able to arrange out-of-hours ward-based teaching, skills and SLE (CBDs and Mini-CEXs) sessions. This enabled me to complete the majority of my SLEs for that block within the first few weeks. Many of us also completed the majority of our clinical skills within our first block.
What did you do in your free time outside of medicine?
Outside of placement the facilities within Wrexham were decent. I signed up to PureGym (5 minutes walk from the hospital), attended a local church and went shopping at the nearby shopping centre (10-15 minute walk). The transport links in Wrexham were great.
There are two stations: Wrexham General and Wrexham Central both of which are within walking distance of the hospital. Wrexham is very close to the Midlands and a few of us went on day trips to nearby cities such as Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Derby and Liverpool. Chester and Manchester are also very nearby. All of us also went to Bangor to sit the progress test. Some of us stayed to explore Snowdon.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and would highly recommend it to other students!