St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush
Europe's first CFES School of Distinction

RCSI MiniMed

RCSI MiniMed

RCSI MiniMed - By Oisín Brennan


Luke Fitchner, Thomas Rice and I were among the lucky 250 students from all over Ireland and Europe to be accepted into the MiniMed program. The program is a week long look into studying medicine in RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons Ireland) and the possible careers that will come out of it. Here’s a run down of our week.

Day 1

On the first day the three of us headed into Stephens Green where the RCSI campus lies. We were told to head to the new building which was made 2 years ago, the building really is a feat of engineering. The building goes 4 floors underground which is the deepest in Ireland.


We were brought into the Desmond Auditorium one floor under street level. The room seated roughly 400. We were greeted by Prof. Arnie Hill who welcomed us to the programme, gave us our time tables and sent us straight into our first talk. Our first speaker was a GP and she said that her life is always busy but she really enjoys it, she recommended that if you want to be a GP, to just go for it.

We had a small break and were given a few snacks.

After the break we went into another talk, this time about plastic surgery where he told us plastic surgery isnt cosmetic surgery but more to help people recover and get back to living their lives after an accident. Next a patient who had a stroke came in to tell us her experience. She told us she doesn't remember what happened on the day of her stroke. The doctor used a microcatheter to restore blood flow to the brain, it was very interesting and was truly an eye opener.

Lunch came and we were given lunch, we got to chill out around the building.

Next we got to go to simulation rooms. We were split into groups and I was first placed in the laparoscopic simulation room. It was set up with a small camera and two graspers, I practiced passing small items back and forth.Then we took bloods from a training arm and learned how not to hurt the patient.

For the second half we used RCSI’s new Augmented Reality app to view 3D models of organs in front our very eyes. They wish to use this app to replace pictures in books. My card had a lung on it while others had the skeleton and heart. We also were told about a competition for the best picture with “muscle man” who was the weeks mascot.

RCSI no1.jpg

Day 2

For our first talk, Prof. Redmond spoke about the importance of Heart surgery and its future. He works in setting up artery bypasses.Prof Hill talked about the importance of communication and that when a transplant is happening, it’s not just one person but several. Teamwork is very important and can save lives. The next surgeon talked about surgery on the esophagus and brought in a patient. He said he felt abnormal pain in his throat when swallowing and he found out there was a tumour growing in the lining of his esophagus. This was a challenge as keyhole surgery anywhere could be very risky. The doctor decided to deflate the left lung and enter between the rib cage, and successfully removed the tumor.

After break we watched a pre recorded C-Section. I feel this was the most gruesome of the surgeries. The baby looked almost alien when it was taken out, but the video really showed everyone on the team working together to make the operation safe and fast. We interviewed one of the midwives and asked plenty of questions.

After lunch Prof Power introduced one of his patients who had a kidney transplant. This was by far the funniest talk I’ve been to. The patient was very charismatic and talkative. He told us about his time on dialysis where he carried around a machine that helped him remove fluid wastes from his body. He went on to get a kidney transplant and his new kidney now sits in his pelvis. I really enjoyed this talk.

Next a birthing mannequin from the test rooms was brought down and we were shown how to birth a baby.

Day 3

Jim Lacey greeted us in the morning by making us stand up and talk to the people around us. He felt mental and psychical health is the key to staying happy.

Our next talk was about pathology more commonly known as CSI. She explained the many areas within it, including fingerprints, microbiology, chemical testing and post mortem examinations.

Prof Curley talked about critical care and anesthesia and highlighted the importance of getting patients into an emergency room as soon as possible. Grace Flanagan from the Women’s Irish Hockey Team and Angus Lloyd who plays rugby for Connacht told us that when they were studying to be doctors it was important that they had another activity. They managed to balance study and professional sport and they feel they benefited from it. Our next talk was about making babies, this talk was engaging because the speaker asked people weird questions no one would know.

After lunch we got to watch a recorded gallbladder removal. Using laparoscopy they made 4 small holes in the abdomen and used a camera to see their movements. The bladder was burnt off and put in a bag which was then compressed and pulled out.

Somehow this one wasn’t as gruesome as the C-Section

Day 4

Prof Humphrey’s told us what he hoped would happen in the future of medicine and very well believed that us students could be the ones to find cures of diseases in a few years. Doctor of the Irish soccer team, John O'Byrne came in and told us about the work he has done over the years and explained to us the planning and teamwork that goes into a game of soccer. He must make sure all the players are healthy to play and he needs to be on call all the time.

Prof Nicholson greeted us after the break where he talked about the importance of paediatrics and how much pride he feels when he saves newborn children. An RCSI Student answered our questions about the HPAT and how having a hobby to do while in college is very helpful. This was then followed up in the next session where we went down 4 floors underground to the gym. We did a bit of exercise and also had a glimpse of the huge new building.

After lunch we had a patient come in and talk about his experience with diabetes, and his story was fascinating. He said that when he was younger in hospital he disobeyed what the doctors had said and became unwell until he grew up and realised he should be fighting to be the healthiest he can be. He was one of the first people in Ireland to receive a device on his arm that can check his blood sugar levels on his phone.


Day 5

For our final morning, we were taught about the different sports injuries and how to treat them. From small to big we saw pulled muscles and broken collarbones.

Dr. Curtis came in to talk about crime scene investigation, you could tell he was passionate about it because he skipped work to come and teach us about it.

After break we were told more about the HPAT and what subjects in the Leaving Certificate would be of benefit to getting a place. They said there were many ways of entering RCSI through different means.

After lunch we watched a recorded tonsillectomy with Prof Paul O’Neill. We saw the problem solving and teamwork shine through with this surgery. Awards were given out for the best pictures taken all week with “muscle man”. Unfortunately ours might have been seen as too violent.

Muscle Man.jpg

This week was better than I expected it to be, I found interest in new possible careers I never would’ve thought. The facilities and technology were amazing throughout the whole week and none of the talks were boring. I never thought I would find an interest in medicine, but maybe this week might have.

Oisín Brennan

With Thomas Rice and Luke Fitchner.

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