The beginning of your journey as a doctor in training starts now and we are looking forward to meeting and working with you in September.
The Flying Start web page is a place where you will find a lot of useful information about things to do before you get here, and what you will need to do when you arrive.
Welcome to the Medical School at the University of St Andrews. St Andrews is the oldest University in Scotland and Medicine has been taught here since 1413. The Medical degree at St Andrews has always provided a strong science base for future clinical practice.
As a relatively small medical school we take pride in ensuring that you are treated as an individual. We feel sure that the supportive environment in both the School of Medicine and the University will help you find your feet while you make the transition to university study.
It is important that you begin by taking responsibility for your own learning, and developing reflective skills that will help you to gain insight into your own strengths and weaknesses. We encourage you to think of yourself as a 'doctor in training' from the very start of your studies.
We hope that you enjoy your time in St Andrews, and wish you every success.
Alun Hughes and Jim Aiton
Organisers of MD2000 Modules
Getting into Medical School is tough, seemingly impossible at times and yet here you are... Congratulations!
You're in for a treat. Not only are you going to be living in the most beautiful place in the world, St Andrews, but you are going to be studying the best course in the world (Medicine, that is. If you will not be studying medicine, how did you even find this page?). It's time to get excited. I am.
How rude of me, I forgot to introduce myself. Hello, I'm Peter Raybone and I am the President of the Bute Medical Society. Your Medical Society. This year we have a brilliant committee made up of enthusiastic and approachable people who are already working to make sure that you have as memorable a time here as possible.
The Bute Medical Society's aims include showing you all about the wider aspects of Medical Science, fundraising for some worthwhile causes and arranging activities to best promote fellowship within our society: balls, socials, Cheese and Wine evenings, sports, branded clothing, trips and much more. We throw events that get you involved; involved with your year, other years and even the staff. We're all about making sure that you get as much as possible out of the fantastic opportunities here, as well as potentiating the world famous community spirit of St Andrews. Did I mention that I am excited?
The first item on the agenda is Freshers' Week and we're planning an extensive range of events for you. Our main goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible, as quickly as possible. The BMS helped a lot with this in my Freshers' Week. I distinctly remember thinking, 'How do I make friends? What am I going to do? I'm pretty sure I've forgotten how to make friends.' In summary, there was something of an element of panic. The bright side? Everyone is feeling the same sense of panic. Making it perfectly acceptable for you to walk up to someone new and say, 'Hello, my name's Peter, what's yours?' Smiling helps too. I highly recommend smiling.
If you've got any concerns, queries or questions, please do get in touch. We've got a St Andrews Medic Freshers 2013 Facebook group set up for you, or if you would prefer you can drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to ask me absolutely anything, there's no such thing as a silly question. I'll get you started, my favourite colour is blue.
I look forward to seeing you in Fresher's week, in the mean time, have a spectacular summer. You've earned it.
With summer coming to an end and a fantastic journey waiting for you ahead, I'd like to officially welcome you to the University of St. Andrews medical school.
This is an exciting time to be coming to the university, having just celebrated it's achievement of 600 years of study. While it's extensive history may seem daunting, the next three years for you are promised to be unforgettable, whether you are close to home or halfway across the world from family. You will not only encounter the most outstanding group of professors, but you will also meet your family away from home. Despite the hardships you may run into, remember that these struggles are not individual; they are collective and become moments only your fellow medics can share.
As your school president, I am here to help with everything from transitioning into the community to answering any questions or concerns that may come up. Academic matters or administrative, I work closely with members of staff and Peter Raybone (our prestigious Bute Medical Society President) to host social events in order to make your academic year the most rewarding it could possibly be.
While you are getting familiar with the Flying Start website, I'd also recommend joining the Freshers Facebook page - a great way to connect with future classmates and students from older years.
Feel free to drop me an email at any point - no question is too trivial. Hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and I look forward to meeting you in the new academic year.
School of Medicine President
The Flying Start Checklist is a pdf checklist which you can print out and use to help you to keep track of the things you need to do as you prepare to start your medical training at St Andrews.
The School of Medicine Agreement should be downloaded and read before arrival - however do not sign the agreement yet - you will be asked to do this when you are here.
Students should be familiar with the School of Medicine Student Handbook.
You must prepare the information that you require to complete a 'Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme' application. This application form will be given to you during Orientation Week. Please read this letter from the School's Disclosure officer.
The OHSAS Occupational Health Questionnaire should be downloaded, completed and posted to the School of Medicine in a second sealed envelope.
Forms should be returned no later than 3 weeks before your arrival at St Andrews to:
Pre-arrival Occupational Health Questionnaire
School of Medicine
The New Entrants page contains important general information for students who are matriculating (registering) at the University for the first time.
Be aware that there are a number of admin tasks to do before you come to St Andrews. You will find a helpful list on the New Entrants page.
You will need these documents when you are in St Andrews:
We are aware that you will have many questions about the course and what you should be doing to prepare.
We are often asked 'What shall I do about textbooks?' For this reason we thought it would be useful to give you this list of recommended texts and to offer some advice about buying them. Please do not feel that you must rush to buy the texts before you get here (excess baggage can be heavy and expensive!)
When choosing textbooks we try to ensure that they will be useful for your 3 years in St Andrews and your 3 years at clinical partner schools. Although our list may seem lengthy and expensive, it is unlikely that you will have to buy any other essential texts while you are at St Andrews.
In making a decision to select textbooks, not only do we try to find those best suited to our course but also, if possible, the books also include access to the publisher's on-line learning resources.
The Medical School and the University library have licensed ebooks from Elsevier (list below) and this provides on-line access to the texts without restriction using your University user name/password combination. There are some additional texts available on-line. Though these are considered to be important and very useful throughout our curriculum, we do not think it is essential for you to buy the actual texts.
An important thing to note about the Elsevier ebooks is that they are not accompanied by the extra on-line resources which are available if you buy the texts and activate the access codes to the Elsevier StudentConsult web site.
See also Flying Start FAQs:
Stethoscopes, Pocket Masks and Laboratory Coats
You will need to have your own stethoscope, pocket mask and laboratory coats for our clinical skills training.
Stethoscopes: It is strongly recommend that you buy the Littmann Classic II S.E. It is very important for your basic training that your stethoscope has both a bell and a diaphragm. The Littmann Classic II S.E is all you need; you will NOT require a specialist cardiology- or electronic stethoscope. There are a variety of suppliers and some special deals may be available after you arrive in St Andrews.
Pocket Masks: The School of Medicine will have pocket masks (˜£5) for sale at cost price. If you wish to buy your own pocket mask independently, the clinical skills team recommends the Laerdal LD040 or LD021 masks.
Laboratory Coats: You will need a white 'Howie' lab coat for the Dissection Room. Although there are some available for purchase locally (from the shop in the Students Association), supplies are limited and it may be better to buy one before you come to St Andrews.
European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) for Medical Students
During your time as a medical student you will require to be competent with the Microsoft products of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Although many of you will have been taught these skills at school there may be a number of you that would benefit from more formal training.
The University does offer some IT training resources.
We would therefore like to encourage all Medical students to obtain the European Computer Driving Licence® (ECDL) during their time at St Andrews. This can be achieved through the St Andrews Learning Centre and financed, for many students, through Individual Learning Accounts.
You can read more about ECDL here (pdf).
Blood Borne VirusesRead Latest information as pdf
At the time of entry to Medical School students will be screened for tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV infection and any necessary immunisations and antibody tests will be performed. All entrants are required to complete a course of immunisation against hepatitis B virus.
If you have been infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV this does not mean that you cannot train to be a doctor but it is important to consider at this stage whether or not this is the career option that you wish to pursue. Any entrant student who is found to be a carrier of hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV will require special counselling, as such a situation will place restrictions on the student's clinical training and limit his or her medical practice following qualification. If you have had an infection of this nature and wish to discuss this further before making a decision, we would be happy to put you in touch with our Occupational Health Services who will be able to advise you of current policy.
If you are infected with any of these diseases you should consider your position carefully. If you wish to discuss this with an Occupational Health advisor, please contact the admissions team and we can arrange this for you.Read Latest information as pdf
Do I need my own computer?
If at all possible, we strongly advise you to bring your own computer. Although the University has a number of 24hr access computer class rooms you will find it much easier to study and prepare for classes with your own computer.
The Medical School makes extensive use of technology in teaching and learning and in school administration. The hub of these technology systems is Galen; the curriculum management system created for medical students at the University of St Andrews. Galen is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for your personal timetable, lecture handouts, videos and many other learning resources. Galen is very user-friendly but you can have a training session during Orientation Week if you feel that it is neccessary.
The new Medical School has installed a large number of cameras for use in teaching, assessment and research. In the clinical skills rooms there is a camera and touchscreen PC at each bed head to capture your skills practice. This will allow you to playback and review your skills. The videos will be streamed through a web browser and will be accessible on normal spec laptops and PCs.
What is your advice about buying a new computer?
It is highly recommended that you bring a laptop with wireless connection. The Medical School has extensive wireless access throughout the building. PC facilities are provided by the University but these can become oversubscribed at busy times and so having your own laptop will make your life easier.
Your computer does not need to be of the highest spec. Any computer purchased within the last three years should suffice.
It should have:
Also very useful would be:
The University does not recommend any particular make/model of computer, further advice can be obtained from the University website http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/itsupport/
Does it matter if I have a desk top or a lap top?
The majority of University buildings allow wireless access so a laptop is more flexible and convenient. A number of students now make notes directly on their laptops in lectures (it’s useful to be able to touch type…).
Will my Mac work?
Do I need a printer?
Ideally a printer would be very useful. You are expected to bring printed copies of handouts to classes and human nature being what it is there is often a queue at the university printers in the morning…
What IT facilities does the University provide?
Plus much more.
Is there anything I could be reading before I come?
Students often ask us if they should read anything in preparation for Medical School. Rather than burden yourself with facts before you actually come, we suggest that students might rather read something that stimulates the mind!
Ben Goldacre’s book serves to remind us that not everything we read can be trusted. Tracy Kinder’s book reminds us about the humanity of medicine
Ben Goldacre’s book ‘Bad Science’ (ISBN 000728487x Harper Perennial 2009)
Tracey Kinder’s book ‘Mountains beyond Mountains: One doctor’s quest to heal the world’ (ISBN-10: 1846684315 Profile Books)
Where do I go on Monday of Orientation Week?
The School of Medicine orientation begins at 9.30am on Monday of Orientation week in the main Lecture Theatre on the ground floor of the Medical School building on the North Haugh. At this introductory event, you will be welcomed by Dean of Medicine on Guild, Director of Teaching and 1st year Module Controllers. We will also explain all the events that are planned for Monday and the rest of Orientation Week.
What shall I do about textbooks?
We are often asked 'What shall I do about textbooks?' For this reason we thought it would be useful offer some general advice about buying text books.
Some words of caution!
When choosing the recommended textbooks we try to ensure that they will be useful for all 3 years in St Andrews and your 3 years at clinical partner schools. Although our list may seem lengthy and expensive, it is unlikely that you will have to buy any other texts while you are at St Andrews.
See also Flying Start advice on textbooks.
What is special about the books on the booklist?
In choosing the textbooks, we trying to find those best suited to our course with access to the publisher’s on-line learning resources. We have arranged for multiple copies of many major medical texts to be available in the University Library.
See also Flying Start advice on textbooks.
Where can I buy the books?
The books will be available for purchase from Blackwell's Bookshop located in the Student Association Building in St Andrews. You can contact the bookshop, place a credit card order and your books will be waiting for collection when you arrive in St Andrews.
Blackwells Tel: 01334 476367
Fax: 01334 476367
See also Flying Start advice on textbooks.
What about improving my study skills?
The University Orientation Week Programme includes courses in study skills which may help you in the transition to University. One of the great differences between School and University is that although we are committed to supporting you as you begin your medical studies, in a class of 160 students you cannot expect individual help on a daily basis. The responsibility for your success now falls on your own shoulders (this is a health warning!).
Are there any classes in Orientation Week?
During Orientation Week there will be a full programme of introductory classes specifically organised by the School of Medicine for new medical students. Your attendance at these classes is essential since they will help you to find your feet in the early stages of your medical course.
The University, Students' Association, Societies and the Athletic Union organise a whole series of social and academic activities during Orientation Week. Find out more...
As well the University Orientation events, the School of Medicine is organising a programme specifically for new medical students to help you prepare for the beginning of your course. Timetable (pdf)
Staff and students will be available to show parents and new students round the building on Sunday afternoon, meet at the front door. Timetable (pdf)