Cultivating compassion – students to lead the way?

Summer 2015
Lucy Brennan

I am a third year graduate medical student at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Alongside a traditional scientific academic background, I have also enjoyed courses in English literature and theatre arts with contemporary dance. Pursuing interests within the humanities has, I believe, complemented my medical training by helping to develop an empathetic and compassionate approach to patients and their care. My time as a research assistant at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital has additionally contributed to this. I have an interest in paediatrics and I have been fortunate to be involved in several paediatric research projects, including an expedition to Everest Base Camp in Nepal for high altitude studies. I’m very much looking forward to my clinical elective at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Africa this summer.


Each year the BHMA student essay prize provides a new holistic challenge to stimulate the students’ imagination and provoke holistic thought.

First Paragraph

Medical students often feel useless at the start of clinical training in their third year. They feel they cannot contribute meaningfully as they do not yet have the adequate knowledge or skills. Is there a way we as students can turn this around? Is there a special role we can play to utilise what we have learnt in the first two years of the curriculum? We might not know how to cannulate a vein well, interpret ECGs properly, formulate accurate differential diagnoses or management plans, but that will come in time.