Medical students:benefit or burden?
Rachel Cornell looks back at her five years of undergraduate study and asks herself whether medical students are a help or a hindrance
Ward experience is a vital part of the undergraduate course, offering invaluable exposure to a clinical environment and those skills that we cannot learn from textbooks. It allows us to observe and later apply the science that is medicine to clinical practice and also offers the opportunity to develop those all important communication and practical skills essential for effective practice.
But are medical students the only ones who benefit from being part of the ward team? Do staff and patients feel that they are a benefit or are they looked upon as a burden?
It is difficult to define the medical student role in the hospital team. Are we merely there to open and close curtains, find missing charts, and harass the patients with our endless lists of well rehearsed questions? Do hospital staff breathe a sigh of relief when a university term ends or do we play a useful