'Science without Borders' students complete work placements with the NHS
Science without Borders is a Brazilian Government scholarship programme which aims to send 101,000 Brazilian students on undergraduate sandwich courses, PhD sandwich courses and full PhDs to study in science, technology, engineering, maths and creative industries at top universities around the world.
Alice Green, Student Administrator for the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett, said: “Our Faculty has received a lot of interest by students on the Science without Borders scheme. We have housed 33 students over the past three years, and expect three more to start in September.
“Whilst studying at our University, each student undertakes a placement, with many students spending time in our state-of-the-art laboratories. This summer however, we were very fortunate to be able to offer a placement to a few students with Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.”
It is the first time that Leeds Beckett students have worked at the hospital and Isabelle Meneses Da Ponte, one of the students, said of the practical experience: “Initially my role was to observe but I found it hard to stay still and not do anything whilst everybody else was moving so fast, reacting to demands! However, after a few days, I got used to the routine and started to help the junior doctors with their paperwork; relaying information from patients' folders and even asking some of the patient’s questions.
“After a couple of weeks, I had settled into my role as clinical attachment student - I did ward rounds in the morning, went to lectures at lunchtime, shadowed junior doctors in the afternoon and went to the library at night, but because I am a curious person, I also made a point of visiting other areas of the hospital. I went to the surgical amphitheatre and saw two surgeries: a knee and hip replacement. I went to the anaesthetic amphitheatre to see a lumbar puncture and also shadowed a stroke physician - this gave me a great chance to talk to him about the similarities and differences of Brazilian and British medical practices.”
As well as the placement opportunity, the Science without Borders students attend lectures with the Universities full time biomedical science students, Isabelle said: “The lectures were really good, especially the ones that included real life simulations using mannequins. It made the practical aspect much easier to understand. I particularly liked the lectures on X-Raying and medicines. The library also provided many good books for core reading – I used to read about situations I had dealt with at the hospital which helped me understand better.”
Of the overall experience, Isabelle added: “I did not expect my first placement to be in the UK – it was the best news I could have hoped for.
“Having done this placement, I now feel more confident about my profession. I no longer fear working in a hospital environment and I am sure that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life - it has definitely had a positive impact on my career.
“I will definitely recommend this experience to other undergraduate medical students from Brazil. Being an international student makes the experience even better as you are learning in a different country, using a different language and learning new traditions.
“I am leaving the United Kingdom but it is not leaving me - the memories will be with me forever, influencing the way I see life. I am glad I had this opportunity and I will miss the UK, however I won’t miss the weather!”