Fife siblings celebrate medical degree success

Friday 14 June 2024

Fife siblings Douglas and Lauren Christie shared a special moment of academic achievement in St Andrews this week.

Medical student Douglas, of Kingskettle, formally received his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) qualification at his graduation ceremony Friday while his sister, Dr Lauren Christie, looked on from her seat on the stage as a member of University staff.

Lauren is the Academic Staff Developer for the University and works across both Organisational Staff Development Services (OSDS) and the Centre for Educational Enhancement and Development (CEED).

Commenting on her bother’s graduation as a ScotGEM student, Lauren said: “I am extremely proud of all of the hard work, dedication and passion that Douglas has demonstrated during his entire educational journey. He has a real flair for working with members of the public and colleagues alike, so I have no doubt that the NHS will have gained a shining star when it comes to him spending time working with patients in a GP practice or on the hospital wards.

“I am equally honoured to be part of the academic procession on the day of his graduation, there is truly nothing more special or unique than a University of St Andrews graduation – well done Doug!”

With a background in sports science, Douglas, was drawn to study medicine after completing his MSc in Human Anatomy at the University of Dundee. It was here, through his introduction to clinical anatomy, that he learned about the Scottish Graduate Medical Entry program (ScotGEM) programme.

ScotGEM is a four-year graduate entry medical programme run by the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee tailored to meet the current and future needs of the NHS in Scotland, with a focus on rural medicine and healthcare improvement. The programme offers case-based learning and exposure to community-based practices early on, with integrated courses in clinical practice and opportunities to participate in care delivery from year three.

Commenting on his ScotGEM experience Douglas said: “The idea of working in small groups with early patient contact from the first year is not something routinely offered in other medical courses,” and that “ScotGEM allows you to be part of a team and community early on in the course which builds confidence.”

“This early contact also helps students develop technical skills and offers opportunities to participate in the Agents of Change curriculum, all of which helps students feel confident and empowered to make a difference,” he added.

The highlight of the course for Douglas was the 10-month placement within a GP practice in year three, known as the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship. He spent this time with the Castle Douglas Medical Group in Dumfries and Galloway where he managed the patient list under supervision and was involved in patient referrals as well as helping patients manage common health conditions. For Douglas, “this experience offered me great preparation for working as a doctor and the team were brilliant.”

Students in the ScotGEM program are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and experience levels, which is something Douglas believes enriches the program.

He said: “I’ve learned from my time in general practice, and throughout ScotGEM, that the skills we develop through life experience is often undervalued and can actually help people to become amazing medical students and doctors. We have people on the course who have been paramedics, pharmacists and have previous degrees in humanities and arts, so everyone has their own story to tell.”

With plans to remain in the NHS Tayside area for his foundation training, dividing his time between Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and Perth Royal Infirmary, Douglas urged anyone considering the ScotGEM program to, “Go for it! The key is to see your past experience as something which can make you unique as a medical student, and not as a barrier to your eligibility to be a ‘good doctor’.”

With regards to the future, he is considering a career in general practice or emergency medicine and has been inspired by the exposure to many different areas of medicine in the ScotGEM program – his long- plans include exploring other specialties including neurology or paediatrics.

He added: “I’ve ultimately got an avid interest in teaching, so wherever I end up, I’m sure it will involve helping to train the next generation of medics in Scotland!”

ScotGEM is awarded on a joint basis by the universities of St Andrews and Dundee.

Category Graduation

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