An 8 week Medical Elective Experience

With a personal interest in environmentalism, and a curiosity in how to fit this into my professional life, I applied to spend 8 weeks at the CSH for my final year medical elective. After an initial induction where I was introduced to the team and other volunteers, I was encouraged to get stuck-in straightaway by taking their ‘Introduction to Sustainable Healthcare’ course- a valuable insight and background to the work that was to come. 

Throughout my time at the CSH I had the opportunity to contribute to a variety of projects, including a conference presentation and reviewing courses. This has allowed me not only to develop my personal skills, but also to gain more confidence for my upcoming job as a doctor. I particularly enjoyed the fact that this elective was not in a clinical setting, albeit totally clinically relevant, and I feel that it has made me a better doctor. For example, I formatted some Green Ward reports, one of which was for the hospital where I spent my final year placement. I found this a very valuable insight into how quality improvement projects could be conducted within a familiar atmosphere. This helped me feel more empowered to begin a Sustainable QI project when I start my foundation years, and also to talk to my colleagues regarding how they can help. This feeling of empowerment was accentuated by attending the workshop for the Intro course, where I met participants from a variety of different healthcare backgrounds, who were all sharing ideas and supporting each other, like a community. 

My supervisor and the whole team were incredibly supportive of me throughout, with regular check-ins. Although due to the COVID-19 pandemic my elective was conducted fully remotely, I still felt like I could ask for help via email with subsequent Teams meetings, with prompt responses. I felt like an equal within the team, and valued, a feeling which is unfortunately uncommon as a medical student on placement. 

During my time at the CSH I feel that I have gained life-long skills, and a renewed motivation for studying medicine. With two projects still ongoing even after the official end of my elective, I am excited to continue this work, and integrate it into my career. I would like to thank the whole CSH team for their expertise and support throughout my elective, and I look forward to working with them more in the future!"

Kiana Mostaghimi

Southampton Medical School, 8 week elective