At the beginning of July 2023, RCPsych in Wales hosted its second annual summer school. The two day event, delivered in partnership with TEC Cymru, saw year 11 students with an interest in healthcare travel to Cardiff from across Wales to attend.
The first day kicked off at Cardiff University where students heard from experts in surgery, sexual health, and respiratory medicine, giving them an insight into these fields of medicine. Following on from this, pupils were given a tour of the state-of-the-art Cardiff University Brain Research and Imaging Centre where they got to experience first hand how brain research is conducted. The tour ended with the opportunity for students to be placed in a model MRI scanner.
The day continued with more talks from professionals in the afternoon. These were held both virtually and in person at the RCPsych Wales offices and gave students the opportunity to speak with a medical student, a medical advisor to the Welsh government, a child psychiatrist, and a psychologist. Students reported that the sessions throughout the day had given them a lot of food for thought about their potential career paths.
The second day’s focus moved away from the clinical aspect of healthcare and looked towards the NHS and Welsh Government. Students started the day off with a tour of the Senedd, where they heard how healthcare policy is shaped and advised by clinicians and healthcare professionals. During the tour pupils also had the chance to discuss the healthcare provisions in Wales with members of the Senedd and learn more about devolution in the health service.
This day at the Senedd coincided with the NHS’s 75th birthday and the NHS Confederation were hosting an event to mark this special occasion. Students from the summer school were able to be a part of this; speaking to stall holders from different healthcare backgrounds to gain an insight into what the future of the NHS holds for different professions.
After lunch, the summer school students attended the Senedd’s plenary session to see how questions are put to ministers and the government’s policies are held to account. This was followed by a meeting with Rhodri Ab Owen, Political and Public Affairs Specialist, and Sarah Murphy MS.
At the end of the two days. the young people reflected upon the vast variety of healthcare related careers within the NHS, and the opportunities available, ranging from clinical work, to research, to government policy.
Overall, the summer school was an enjoyable and informative experience for all involved, with Ollie John, manager of RCPsych in Wales summarising:
“It was wonderful to see how engaged the young people were over the two days. Their enthusiasm for a career in healthcare was obvious and we hope that their experience with us will help them in their future pursuits.”