What did you do in your spare time at Uni?

Collage of students doing activities with one student in the centre in PPE equipment.

What did you do with your spare time at University? Perhaps you were part of lots of clubs and societies, spent time with your friends in our college bars or even got to take in some of the legendary gigs in our Great Hall. Over the past year, our medical students have spent their time in between studies providing frontline support to hospitals across the North West in the region's continued fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic.

During the past year, our medical students have provided essential support across a number of hospitals in the area. Most recently, some of these students have been involved in the mass vaccination programme currently taking place at our new Health Innovation Campus, as Lancaster University continues to play a key role in the region's response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Back in the spring of last year, over 40 final year medics were forced to cut short placements and graduate early. They are currently undergoing the transition from student to Foundation Interim Year 1 Doctors which can be a very challenging process at the best of times, never mind amidst the pressures of a global health emergency.

Fourth year student Charlotte (pictured in PPE equipment above) has been a Clinical Support Worker at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary since her first year. Things changed very quickly for her in early March. Her placements and exams were cancelled. As a result of this, she decided to pick up more and more shifts in A&E and the Respiratory wards at the RLI. As the pandemic built, the work became more and more stressful, with one shift in particular where she, one other Clinical Support Worker and two nurses, had to manage a ward of nearly thirty patients by themselves. Nevertheless, her colleagues working full-time in the NHS, were all looking out for one another even more than usual.

One Lancaster alumnus who now works as a surgeon here in the North West told us just how challenging this time had been for these medical graduates and students:

"Our FY1 doctors and medical students have taken to work in such a torrid time and with an incredible sense of duty. With their families at some distance away, life exists in hospital and home is where their bed is. This isn't the introduction to their working lives that any of them would want, but they have stood up to the challenge and faced it with courage and professionalism, and I am incredibly proud that they will be my colleagues."

You can find out more about how the staff and students at Lancaster University have been engaged at the forefront of the University's response to the Covid pandemic. From medical students to virologists, you can read some of their stories here.

To thank our graduates and students for their selflessness and hard work over the past ten months we established the Covid-19 Emergency Support Fund to provide direct support to our medics as well . Find out how you can support here.

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