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Prep for Med 2024

Transition Year secondary school students from across Munster recently attended University College Cork’s School of Medicine ‘Prep for Med.’

Organised by the School of Medicine’s ‘Prep for Med’ Team - Prof Paula O’Leary, Prof Mark Corrigan, Dr Niamh Coakley and Brid O'Neill - this hugely popular programme allows young people to experience both the life and the facilities available to medical students in UCC’s School of Medicine. 

Following a warm welcome by Prof Paula O’Leary, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Dr Niamh Coakley, School of Medicine Prep-for-Med organiser, the one hundred TY students and their Guidance Counsellors spent the morning in Brookfield Health Sciences Complex.

They were given a tour of the state of the art FLAME anatomy lab and the teaching facilities in Brookfield including clinical skills rooms and the ASSERT centre. The TY students themselves were given ‘hands on’ experience of how clinical skills are taught in the medical programme.

Facilitated by our fantastic volunteer medical students and supervised by faculty, including Dr Rob Gaffney, Dr Nora McCarthy, Dr Irina Korotchikova and Dr Fiona Quinn, they were given the opportunity to practice skills such as measurement of vital signs, as well as emergency management of cardiac arrest, anaphylactic shock and acute haemorrhage.

In parallel, talks were delivered to the Guidance Counsellors by Dr Helen Hynes, Senior Lecturer in the Medical Education Unit, about the Medical Programme in UCC and by Mr Cian Power, from Student Support, about the transition to University. 

After lunch, our TY students moved safely to Cork University Hospital where they were hosted by Professor Mark Corrigan, Clinical Professor in Surgery.

The students witnessed the live arrival into the world of a beautiful baby girl, delivered by the maternity team via Caesarean Section lead by Dr Fergus McCarthy.

Through the work of Uwe Schiller and the AV team and their high-definition links, the students were privileged to be a small part of a very long journey for this happy family from our community.  

Our TY’s, having already heard from our assistant state pathologist Dr Margot Bolster regarding her incredible life investigating some of the state’s most challenging crime scenes, then met Dr Jason Van der Velde who leads the West Cork rapid response unit. In an inspirational talk Jason described roadside rescues, deliveries, airlifts, and his personal experience of completing his medical degree and post graduate training as a student with dyslexia. Jason left nobody in any doubt on what can be achieved with the right combination of desire and dedication.  

Continuing the theme of academic achievement, the students next heard from one of our leading female surgeons Ms Louise Kelly. Louise took time from a busy cancer surgery list to sensitively walk the students through some of the ethical problems faced by doctors, before reinforcing the theme of achievement through work and commitment.  

Finally, our TY students were enthralled by Prof Leonie Heskin, ASSERT Director of Research and Education, and her description of the virtual and augmented reality technology available to teach 21st century medical students, along with the myriad of practical facilities available in the world class ASSERT centre.

Leonie reflected on the changes she has witnessed over her career and the huge developments in training and education of which UCC is at the forefront.  

Upon conclusion several teachers voiced their admiration and appreciation for what they described as the outstanding highlight of the TY calendar.

With that, an inspired and enthused group of TY students from across the province filed out of the CUH lecture hall, bringing the 15th Prep for Med day to a very successful close. 

It is a privilege to be able to open our doors to all these potential doctors, and to show them how they will learn to be highly competent, skilled and empathetic practitioners, should they choose to study Medicine here in Cork.

Professor Paula O’Leary, Dean of UCC’s School of Medicine, commented that “UCC has a long and proud tradition in Medical Education. The quality of students who enter our medical programme is first class due in no small way to the excellent secondary schools who prepare those students. ‘Prep-for Med’ allows students from across Ireland to understand how we train our future Doctors and Clinicians and how they can aspire to a career in Medicine. UCC has led the way in developing this innovative program which showcases life in Medicine to secondary school students, and I am looking forward to seeing some of our visitors return to UCC’s School of Medicine in the years ahead.”  

The feedback from the day was fantastic. 

“Just want to thank you on behalf of myself and my students for a great day on Friday, as usual it was well run and the students got so much from it”.

“I think that I enjoyed just as much as the students”.

Prep for Med 2024 will be held on Friday 31st January 2025 


School of Medicine

Scoil an Leighis

Room 2.59, T12 AK54