From one disaster to another
It seems like we are never far off the next humanitarian crisis. The recent earthquakes in Nepal killed more than 3500 people, and injured over 4000, as well as destroying 95% of homes in some areas. In the wake of the devastation urgent aid is required to respond to the needs of the people affected to save lives and provide basics such as food and shelter. But who are the medics who offer help in these moments of crisis? Anna Sayburn interviews some of the doctors who have been involved in recent conflict and disaster situations to find out what it takes to work in this field (doi:10.1136/sbmj.h2843). A career in this area of medicine carries with it a certain degree of glamour, but also an element of risk. It is a nomadic existence, where you can be on standby and be deployed to whatever crisis emerges next, which can make it tricky to establish roots personally and professionally.
The previous issue of Student BMJ asked whether three dimensional (3D) printing could be used to bring a new lease of life to anatomy teaching in providing more affordable resources for students to learn anatomy and practise techniques. Following on from this, Peter Lioufas, an Australian medical student, writes about his experiments with 3D printing to create models to help trainee surgeons practise the closure of cleft palate and as an aid to explaining the procedure to the parents of the child having the operation (doi:10.1136/sbmj.h2686).
If only printing off money were as easy as printing off body parts for medical students. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular topics at the recent BMA’s medical students conference was finance. Student loans are a burden on the shoulders of students, particularly those studying medicine, because of the longer length of the degree. One of the legacies of the last government was to increase tuition fees from £3000 (€4250; $4600) to £9000 per year, and recently published research in BMJ Open has projected the ability of medical students to pay back their debt based on this new system. Brendan Westhoff unpacks the study and explains how your level of debt, gender, and pay will all influence how much you end up paying back (doi:10.1136/sbmj.h2643).
You may be busy revising for exams at the moment but do you ever wonder what the career you’re shelling out for might look like once you graduate? The Shape of Training review is a major report that gives you an insight into how the medical profession might look in the future. The main headlines are that all medical students will be fully GMC registered by the end of medical school (requiring them to be at a higher standard), there will be a trend towards more generalist doctors rather than specialists, and specialist training will be shortened. This has caused disquiet amongst the ranks. In a personal view, Ben Dean, an orthopaedic registrar, describes his reservations with the plans and how he fought the GMC to reveal details of undeclared meetings between the review team and the government (doi:10.1136/sbmj.h2820).
“I’m a doctor and I have a mental illness.” That’s a brave declaration for a medic to make, but it is exactly what an anonymous author writes about (doi:10.1136/sbmj.h2819). This is an important and powerful article in our series of articles in Student BMJ that aim to lift the lid on the stigma around mental illness in the medical profession. I would like to thank the author for writing the piece, which I am pleased to say has a positive ending.Matthew Billingsley, editor, Student BMJ
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Cite this as: Student BMJ 2015;23:h2904