We chat to Charlotte, a medical student who’s been at Arthur Rank Hospice for seven weeks

We discover a bit more about what she’s been up to and why it has been of value – for her and for the Hospice…

“Hi I’m Charlotte. I’m just finishing my fifth year as a medical student at Cambridge University, going into my last year next week. As part of their course, every medical student gets to choose a field they wish to work in for a period of time, so I asked if I could come to the Inpatient Unit at Arthur Rank Hospice.”

What have you been doing day to day?

“Whilst I’ve been here, my jobs have included helping the doctors on ward rounds, meeting patients, taking bloods and carrying out ECG’s (electrocardiogram – a test to check the heart).

I’ve also been working on a project to put a questionnaire in place on the ward. It’s called IPOS (which stands for Integrate Palliative Care Outcome Scale) and will hopefully enable us to monitor patients’ quality of life whilst they’re in our care. Patients’ rank their different symptoms and psychological aspects, for example whether they are feeling at peace or anxious. We then look at their answers to see if any changes need to be made to their care plan, allowing even more personalised care for each individual. I am now analysing the data I have collected, to see if we have made a positive impact and it looks like we definitely have. “

What has been the best thing about the last seven weeks?

“I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Inpatient Unit team, especially getting to know the nurses, doctors and staff and also getting to know the patients and their families. One of the many patients I met, when you go and see her, she just brightens up your day: she’s fantastic!

Although it can be very emotional and hard at times, it is also heartening to see how much our patients value the hospice’s care and the work we do. It’s very rewarding.”

How does the experience of working here fit into your final plans?

“As I go into my final year, I’m starting to think about what I want to specialise in and I will be starting to apply for jobs ahead of qualifying in October.

Before coming to Arthur Rank Hospice, I’d never had any hands on experience of palliative or hospice care, so I now feel much more confident about this area and I can take my experiences with me to help decide whether I want to continue in palliative care or become a GP. “

A big thank you to Charlotte and all the medical students who have helped and supported the Hospice over the years, and good luck with qualifying later in the year!