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Adding More Turns in The Road to Medicine

It’s all become a bit official so I can now fully share my plans for the next 6 months or so.

Firstly, I won’t be sitting the GAMSAT this year. Unfortunately my testing date has conflicted with some other life events which means that I can’t get to Liverpool, sit the exam and get back very easily. The additional cost of hotels and travel have just become more of a pain than a help. It’s money I’ve lost out on and I can’t get back (or defer) and that’s annoying but at this stage it’s not hugely important and to be honest, I don’t feel ready to sit it on the 9th September!

So, you’re probably thinking why on earth would I miss my GAMSAT exam and what could be SO important to take priority? Well.. I have been invited to work up in Shetland (most northernly islands in the UK) for the next 6 months due to their shortage of healthcare workers. The post will be working within Learning Disabilities and Autism (including challenging behaviour) but it based in rural community care and crisis management. The Shetland Islands do not have any Mental Health inpatient services and the closest are within the Grampian Trust (Aberdeen). The Mental Health/ Psychiatric services are extremely understaffed, similarly with their acute medicine services and community care teams.

As it has all been confirmed and starting to really take shape, I’m booked on the 19:00 sailing from Aberdeen on Friday the 10th September (hence GAMSAT). I’m relocating and so my life for the next 6 months will be packed into my car and we’ll be setting off on the 5hr car trip before the 12.5hr ferry (14hrs if it is a sailing that calls at Kirkwall, Orkney) to Lerwick.

I’m extremely fortunate that the team in Shetland seemed very keen to have me and that I had qualities and experience that they desired. I’m excited to learn in a more community setting (everyone in Shetland knows everyone)! I’m also very fortunate that for some, this opportunity would be a nightmare – the cold and often wild winters, the dark, the island life and being ‘cut-off’ from everyone and everything however, I was born in Shetland and grew up there for the early years of my life. I still have a very large group of family and friends in Shetland so it’s a sort of, homecoming, so to speak. The fact that it’s working through an agency and they’re paying me very, very well for the work, accommodation and travel is also a big plus!

Back to Medicine… I have pushed my UCAT back to the 31st August due to being on a nightshift prior to my UCAT date on the 26th. I will still apply with my UCAT score (if good enough) and aim for solely Warwick. I will aim to take the GAMSAT in both March and September next year and have the full force of testing behind me when I apply for 2023. It’s maybe a bit of a longer journey than I originally intended but there are some opportunities that you simply can’t miss. This is one of them!

Be prepared for posts on island life. How sad it is that I can’t get a McDonald’s or Costa Coffee anytime soon or food from JustEat! Let’s just pray for a smooth sailing to Lerwick on the 10th!

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