Intern and Elective Experiences

Students on interships or elective placements engage in a range of projects.  These are structured around the General Medical Council's current requirements for MBBS graduates, including: 

5g. Apply the principles and methods of quality improvement to improve practice (for example, plan, do, study, act or action research), including seeking ways to continually improve the use and prioritisation of resources;

25f.  outline the principles underlying the development of health, health service policy, and clinical guidelines, including principles of health economics, equity, and sustainable healthcare;

25h. Evaluate the role of ecological, environmental and occupational hazards in ill-health and discuss ways to mitigate their effects.

Here are a few reports from recent placements:

From being my class ‘eco warrior’ at the age of 10, to helping set up the Sustainable Medicine Society at Leicester University, my interest and involvement with climate change and sustainability has been longstanding. My elective period spent with CSH has further developed my interests and shown me countless ways of combining sustainability with a career in medicine and the healthcare industry.

I was able to undertake the Introduction to Sustainable Healthcare e-learning course along with other courses which I found insightful and they provided me with a wide-ranging bank of sustainability resources to read. I have also undertaken a range of different projects, from reviewing and formatting sustainable health case studies, to writing material for new courses.
My main project involved reviewing responses from a questionnaire about the CSH networks for sustainability in different fields and specialities. This wasn’t what I’d expected to be doing and initially, I was concerned that this wouldn’t allow me to meet my elective objectives of developing my understanding of sustainable healthcare initiatives. However, as I worked on the project, I was able to direct my own learning and integrate reading case studies or posts on the networks that particularly interested me to expand my knowledge. The project has also given me skills such as data extraction and evaluation, communication with colleagues whilst working remotely, and formatting presentation slides for different audiences.

Overall, my placement with CSH has given me hope that there are people from a wide range of professions and specialities, striving for healthcare to be more sustainable. I have learned about many ways in which I can consider sustainability in my future career. The knowledge and skills I have gained have empowered me and given me confidence to advocate for climate action and to encourage others to do the same.

Naomi Richardson

Final year medical student at the University of Leicester

May 2022

Whilst being eco-conscious has been a long-standing passion of mine, it is only recently in the last few years of medical school that I have found opportunities to integrate this into my degree and future career. After completing a Global Health module, I wrote an essay on the effects of Covid-19 on plastic usage and PPE. Whilst researching for this essay I came across CSH and decided to apply for an elective and found the process straightforward with many opportunities to get involved in a variety of ongoing projects. 


A highlight of the elective was being able to participate in the 'Intro to Sustainable Healthcare' course and use the knowledge from this to develop other courses as part of our project (such as the Sustainable Anaesthetics course). We also worked on developing educational resources for the Sustainable QI team by designing model scenarios for GPs and midwives. It has been great to work alongside different healthcare professionals to get their insight into how sustainable healthcare is evolving.  As my medical school was part of the SusQI roll-out with CSH, it was useful to see the thought behind the design of the resources and to contribute to them for multidisciplinary use. The skills I have learnt from this elective will serve me well in the future as I pursue a career in medical education and I will strive to implement sustainable healthcare into my practice. 

Ardra Radhalakshmi

Final Year Medical Student from King's College London

March 2022

From starting a climate action society, concerned about the inaction of the governing bodies to take action on the current climate emergency, to interning at the hub of where change is happening, I found my elective experience at the CSH truly inspiring. It was a pleasure to have met a group of individuals working towards a common goal. 

I learnt a fresh perspective from a multi-disciplinary team of interns. I also developed my communication skills and professional voice through collaborating with various health professionals and professional organisations through emails, meetings and  using social media to advocate for climate action. I developed my writing skills through writing blogs and course pages and the opportunity to use my creative side to make logos, infographics etc. I learnt that I learn well through applying concepts visually. I have also got ideas around my future career options where I would like to combine graphic design, data analytics with my healthcare background to help disseminate climate research to make it more accessible to the public. 

Overall, volunteering at the CSH has provided me with a safe space where I could venture of my comfort zone, make mistakes, ask questions, get advice and learn and it's sparked hope and encouraged me to keep striving and working towards advocating for climate action in healthcare.

Shiwei Shiwei Ooi

Year 5 Medical student, University of Leeds MBChB

August 2021

I have absolutely loved the last 6 weeks [of my elective experience], and feel more inspired to continue working within healthcare after realising that, firstly, there are ways of changing healthcare to have less of an environmental impact, and that secondly, there's a world of people and organisations pushing this work forward into the mainstream. It's been great working on projects with fellow volunteers and staff, being able to hear different perspectives and learn from those who have been working on this for a number of years. As healthcare professionals we must first do no harm, and this guiding principle has been reiterated throughout.

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jessica burt imageJessica Burt

Final Year Medical Student at the University of Leeds

August 2021

I have been part of many different projects whilst working with the CSH team. My time was primarily spent on mental health topics, contributing to both a blog post on green social prescribing and content for a new course on sustainable mental healthcare, alongside a group of other amazing and enthusiastic interns and medical elective students. I also created course promotion materials and infographics.  In addition, I helped write a series of blogs for AHPs, this required both researching and writing skills. Additionally, I was able to summarise case studies into useful summary pages that can be read by health care professionals to inspire different green initiatives in their practices. 

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Rebecca Gee

University of Exeter BSc Biological Sciences Year 3

August 2021

"In the couple of months that I’ve been with CSH, I have engaged in a wide variety of activities. First, I drafted educational materials on topics ranging from infection control to sustainable supply chains and procurement (most of this has already been incorporated into teaching materials, which I’m thrilled about!).  I also helped organise a monthly planetary health journal club for students in the healthcare field; I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to conduct high-quality research in this area and have gotten a better understanding of the research background in healthcare sustainability."

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Michael Xie

History of Science and Global Health student at Harvard University, Summer Intern at CSH

August 2021

During my time at CSH I was able to work with a huge variety of individuals on a wide range of topics. Initially my time was spent working alone on projects within medical education but towards the end of my elective I was working in several different groups, ranging from sustainability in primary care, to ‘green endoscopy’. I found the organisation very supportive. Distance working isn’t for everyone, at points it can be overwhelming without having a colleague to call over to help you trouble shoot a problem. However, all the people I worked alongside at CSH went above and beyond to help me settle in and find my feet. 

I am hugely interested in sustainability and medical education. I hope to continue to devote time to these interests and look forward to working with Stefi and the CSH team again in the future.

Jenni Newton

Newcastle Medical School elective

August 2021

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.

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Kiana Mostaghimi

Southampton Medical School, 8 week elective

May 2021

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at CSH. Stefi has been very supportive and collaborative to ensure you can get the most out of the experience. This experience has allowed me to understand more about the workings of a small charity and how to instigate change from the bottom up. It was a great way to meet like-minded healthcare professionals too, and learn how I can carry sustainability into my future practice, with SusQI and more.

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Victoria Lau

UCL Medical School, 4 week elective

May 2021

For all of us, this was quite new territory, with sustainable healthcare little featuring in our medical education up to that point. Involvement in a wide range of projects, from sustainable quality improvement in Psychiatry to the benefits of green space for healthcare workers’ wellbeing, provided us with a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities for sustainability in particular specialties, and gave us a taste of conducting research in the field. In different ways this SSM changed the way each of us understood sustainable healthcare: it dispelled many of the misconceptions surrounding the field, made us feel both more obliged but also more empowered to act, and most importantly provided us with the tools with which to do so. What we have learnt in just 4 weeks has highlighted to us the potential of sustainable healthcare education to bring about change in the health service, and has also helped us to incorporate these principles into our own practice.

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Ian, Sarah, Charlotte and Mostafa

Oxford Medical School, 4th year

February 2020