Medical mavericks @ Featherstone Academy!

Medical Mavericks arrived at Featherstone Academy in March 2022, with two facilitators bringing a whole host of medical equipment ready to provide a hands-on immersive learning experience for their Year 10 students!

Medical Mavericks are an organisation who provide hands on learning experiences relating to healthcare.  Their mission is to “inspire the next generation of medics and scientists by taking authentic medical and sports science equipment into schools.” A key takeaway is that these activities aren’t just for students who want to be doctors or nurses who work in patient facing roles; Medical Mavericks also help showcase lesser known careers within healthcare such as bioinformatics and medical engineers, who help design and test medical equipment within the sector.

During the session, students could visit ‘stations’ each with a piece of medical equipment to use. This included: auditory equipment such as tuning forks to test hearing, vision goggles, ultrasound and a machine emulating key-hole surgery. One of the most popular activities was an activity where students could ‘take blood’ from Andy the Arm. Activities such as these help to bring to life school science lessons from the classroom and create career shaping experiences through hands-on practical learning.

Whilst students were using the equipment, I took the opportunity to ask some of the students what was the most stand-out activity for them on the day. One student commented that she is hoping to train as a paramedic in the future and this has helped her realise that she definitely wants to do that as a career, and it had been so helpful to see and use real equipment.

Another student also stated they want to study medicine at university – one of the facilitators is currently studying medicine at university and so it has been even more beneficial being able to hear first-hand what it is like to pursue that course at university. Their advice was, “Studying medicine is demanding and takes a long time to become qualified, but if you enjoy this kind of science then go for it!…My advice would be to take A level Chemistry and Biology, alongside Maths at college.” This helps to keep more universities open to apply to for their subject entry requirements.

At the end of the session, Medical Mavericks also took note of how engaged the students had been in the activities, asking lots of questions and being proactive in the sessions. This really highlights how engaging the session was for the group and the benefits of schools getting this type of organisation in, not only to boost knowledge on careers but also to develop confidence and social skills across the cohort.

Lucie Stanworth