A rough guide to surviving the DTM&H

2 Mar 2016

Sam Johnson, 
DTMH 2016

Whilst there are many inspiring stories of adventure and achievements to be regaled by virtually every member of the course, I decided for my first blog entry to take a slightly different tack. With such a disparate group of people assembled for the DTM&H in Liverpool from Australian Paediatricians with experience of working in Afghanistan to Namibian Public health officials and everything in between, our first month studying together has been inspiring, enlightening and above all entertaining. 

Rule 1
Turn up on the first day fresh and ready.
Whilst many of my colleagues arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed for the beginning of 3 months learning. I decided it would be a good idea to fly home from holiday the day before the course started and following several hours delay in Bogota and then Frankfurt airports, I arrived having had no sleep in 48 hours. I was met with looks of surprise and horror as I struggled through the initial meet and greet sessions bleary eyed and trying desperately not drool all over myself. We were issued with our Turning Point clickers before standing up in front of everyone and performing the dreaded Cilla Black -esque rendition of who we were and where we came from. The first day completed, we all headed home intrigued by what was to come over the next 3 months. 

Rule 2
Get ready for International Night.
WIthin hours of congregating in the Nuffield Lecture Theatre groups were already breaking off conspiring with each other, planning various tribute bands and performances for the infamous International Night at the end of the course. We were treated to a brief preview of what is still to come within the second week when asked to devise a public health strategy to combat leprosy in resource limited settings, one group re-wrote the lyrics to the Mancunian anthem Wonderwall with the whole lecture theatre joining in for a chorus of :

 “Because maybe,
You could even make a baby,
and after all,
it’s so treatable” 

Rousing, memorable, delicious.

Rule 3
Guard your clickers with your life.
A large of effort is made by most of the lecturers at LTSM to make the teaching sessions as interactive as possible however, the more observant will have noticed that the number of votes being cast in the voting system has steadily decreased as clickers are lost, stolen or forgotten at home. There have been reports of mass displacement of populations as people flee the ensuing conflict areas.

Rule 4
Be careful with your faecal samples 
A sizeable amount of time of the DTM&H is spent in the Dagnall Laboratory preparing slides and looking down microscopes at various samples attempting (and failing most of the time in my case) to identify various different pathogens. Rumours of spillages are rife, with stories of an unnamed individual managing to completely upturn a pot of Entamoeba histolytica all over the lab bench particularly entertaining to those who witnessed their misfortune. 

Rule 5
Just do it
If you are a prospective student reading this you may well be considering whether to invest the considerable amount of time effort and money it takes to enrol and complete the DTM&H. Having completed the first month I could not recommend it highly enough. I have met so many interesting people who exemplify the many different exciting paths that medicine can take you down. It has been inspiring, enlightening and above all entertaining.