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The Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) course at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) is the newest addition to NSW's undergraduate medical courses, opening its doors for the first time in 2007. UWS has a particular commitment towards providing health care and education for the Western Sydney region, including a focus on the area of Indigenous health.
To find out more about the UWS medical course, I caught up with Jess, a third year medical student at Western Sydney.
Evie: So Jess, you're now more than half-way towards graduating from UWS! Could you share with us what the Medicine course looks like as a whole?
Jess: The entire course encompasses 5 years of study. The first two years are almost purely theory, with 3 out of 5 weekdays at the Campbelltown university campus; days start at 8am at the earliest and end by 5pm at the latest. From third to fifth year, we pretty much work in the hospital full time.
Evie: From the sounds of it, that's quite a rigorous education. What would you say are some of the strengths of the course?
Jess: Well, while most universities lock their students up at their campuses during the first few years, UWS incorporates its students into the hospital environment from the first week of first year!
As soon as semester begins, first and second year students spend at least one day a week at their allocated hospital (mostly Blacktown or Campbelltown hospitals) and from third year on it's full days in the hospital - pretty much full-time. So we’re extremely competent at working in the hospital by the time we graduate, and we're better prepared for that dreaded internship year.
Evie: That must make it a bit easier in your first year as a doctor. Is there anything, on the other hand, about the course that you find off-putting or frustrating?
Jess: Being one of the youngest medical schools in NSW, our school's still working on establishing its curriculum and teaching methods. This isn’t always a bad thing though, as they're also very keen to listen to our feedback - there's already been major changes that were purely driven by students, so we get to be very involved with our own education.
Evie: I know it was a few years back now, but was there anything about the UWS interview that you found surprising?
Jess: The coordinators, volunteers, and the interviewers themselves were all really (REALLY) nice. Everyone there wants you to do well!
And one thing I love about Med at UWS is that by the time you make it in, it doesn’t matter who is beating whom; you all just work together to get each other through!
Evie: Thanks so much for telling us more about UWS; all the best for this year!
If you’re considering applying for Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, you can find out more at http://www.westernsydney.edu.au/future/future_students_home/ug/medicine.