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A day in the life of a medical student

The gorgeous Gold Coast hinterland is located less than an hour from Bond, and is perfect for squeezing in a hike on weekends

Medical Program student Maddy Condren gives us a look into a busy day in her life.

5.45am: Rowing training

At this unearthly hour of the morning, I wake up and head to the boat sheds for a morning of rowing training.

If you’re into sport, whether social or competitive, then you’ll have no shortage of sporting options at Bond. I discovered the Bond University Boat Club in my first semester and now I’m hooked! With a nice fleet of boats and expert coaches, rowing is by far one of my favourite social activities (despite the early morning), and if you’re a sucker for a good sunrise, then this is the sport for you.

After training we like to go to Lakeside, the main restaurant on campus, and tuck in to egg and bacon sandwiches, avo on toast and fresh coffee or juice.

Maddy kick-starts her day at rowing training with the Bond University Boat Club

9am-1pm: Begin study and class

Now it’s time to hit the books – and the scalpels! Medical students’ timetables fluctuate week to week depending on the content being covered, but generally, classes are split up into several components: lectures, consultation skills, practitioner skills, workshops, laboratory sessions and small group learning (SGL).

These SGL classes are comprised of 7-10 students and a facilitator, and involve dissecting the physiological, pathological, ethical and legal facets present within a specific case. Then, throughout the week we build knowledge around our case through ethical forums, biomedical lectures, lab sessions and practical application. For example, one week we had a septic arthritis case and undertook sessions about osteology and arthrology, wound management, legalities of medical treatment and general history taking.

With specialist lecturers and tutors we’re not short of expertise, and the dedicated faculty are committed to ensuring we receive an immersive education. Our new virtual reality anatomy lab is a prime example of this – so cool and an incredible learning opportunity to boot!

Maddy's day-to-day in the Medical Program varies, but always includes lots of practical sessions and labs

1-4pm: Clinical skills practice

Next, I’ll spend a few hours sharpening my clinical skills. This is what made me fall in love with Bond – from the second week of our first semester, we’re exposed to clinical scenarios, and each week we have the opportunity to practise our consultation skills. Specialist tutors, who are usually GPs and surgeons, spend their time teaching us how to properly navigate a clinical setting. We practise taking a full medical history and learning how to read verbal and non-verbal cues, broadening our capacity for problem-solving and learning which question to ask next.

We also have a team of expert nurses that assist with our practical skills, including taking vital signs and aseptically dressing wounds. As we progress through our studies, our specialist instructors will teach us more complicated procedures so we’re well equipped when we hit the hospitals in fourth year.

The third year of Bond’s Medical Program integrates simulation-based exercises, such as looking after a number of patients in a virtual emergency department. Students get the opportunity to practice ordering tests and scans, interpret results and manage multiple patients without the risk of catastrophe. Qualified doctors and nurses are also present, and they’re on-hand to help students and provide advice. It’s the most immersive experience you can have without actually going into a real hospital setting, and helps to create well-rounded, skilful future doctors before graduation.

Maddy and her classmates use virtual reality (VR) equipment to simulate a range of medical scenarios

5-6pm: Get active

After a huge day of learning, I’m ready to take a breather and have some fun! The period straight after class is when I’m most relaxed, as I’ve just spent an entire day doing what I love, getting excited by new content and seeing my incredible friends, who each day feel more and more like family.

It’s at this time of day that I like to get active whilst reflecting on the day. Just behind Bond there’s a beautiful lake, Lake Orr, that captures the most stunning sunsets. I love to walk to the end and back listening to a podcast or some music. This refreshes me for my evening of study and acts almost as meditation, which is so important for my mental health.

If I feel like working up more of a sweat, I’ll hit up one of Bond’s many sporting facilities. I might play beach volleyball with friends, join in with the Bond Athletics and Running Club for a quick jog or have a round of basketball on the recently converted courts. If we’re ever blessed with an early mark from class, I also like to hit the beach and hone my (still developing) surfing skills.

At the end of a big day, Maddy likes to stroll along nearby Lake Orr and practice meditation

What about on weekends?

My favourite part about the Gold Coast is how much there is to explore! Just behind us at Bond is the stunning hinterland, which features a multitude of walking tracks and secret swimming holes. My favourite is the Twin Falls Circuit in Springbrook, which you can do in a few hours with a little dip halfway through. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then 20 minutes up the M1 (the Gold Coast’s main freeway) are the theme parks, which make for a great day out with friends. Otherwise, Brisbane is just a hop, skip and 50-minute train ride or drive away. With so much to do, such as Eat Street food markets, the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), the Queensland Museum and the Howard Smith Wharves, I find it really difficult to force myself to sit down at my desk and do uni work! 

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