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Doctor Offers Insight into a Career in Medicine

Year 11 pupils and sixth formers were given an insight into a career in medicine by a visiting doctor.

David Rigby, who works at the Royal Brompton hospital, explained to pupils the route he took to become a doctor and the A Levels and grades needed to get into most medical schools.

Dr Rigby spent five years at medical school and has worked as a GP, in A&E, in a surgical position and on an orthopaedics ward.

He told them: "Your A Levels are crucial. You need chemistry A Level and most medical schools will want an A grade. They might want another science A Level, generally at grade B or above. If you don't get those grades, there are other ways in, such as doing a bio-chemistry degree and then applying for a shorter course at medical school."

Dr Rigby urged pupils to start thinking about relevant work experience to help with their applications if they do decide to go to medical school. He suggested volunteering in a care home to show commitment to patient care, or volunteering at a hospital.

Dr Rigby, who is a doctor in acute medicine, said:  "I think being a doctor is one of the best jobs you can do. It's exciting and you feel like you're helping people and making a difference, plus you get paid relatively well. The hours can be long and there can be scary moments but as a junior doctor, you'll always have senior people around you. It can be stressful and you have to really want to do this job.  

"When you turn up for work, you never know if it's going to busy or quiet; whether you'll be using lots of practical skills or more communication skills, such as telling a patient they're seriously ill, or more scientific work, such as researching certain illnesses. It's a very varied job and there are lots of specialisms you can go into.

"I've been doing it for four years and I can't imagine being bored by what I'm doing in 40 years' time."

The visit was arranged by English teacher Felicity Wallace who is keen to invite in other medical professionals, such as midwives and dentists, to share their experiences.

She also directed pupils to the website, to find volunteering opportunities in the local area.