We understand that pursuing a full time academic course can be stressful, and it’s important to know that you can access appropriate help from within your College or School.
The Student Support Office at the QMUL School of Medicine and Dentistry offers a highly developed network of pastoral and academic support, specifically designed to assist our medical students throughout their studies. At every stage you will receive support from our staff who are experienced in helping and advising students across a range of issues.
If you have a mental health condition or concern, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Student Support Office who will provide help and guidance to minimise any negative impact on your studies and/or academic progress. You have a number of options for accessing support, including counselling through the British Medical Association or through Queen Mary’s confidential advice and counselling service. Further information on mental health support for medical students.
The Student Support Office
The Student Support Office is responsible for student support throughout the undergraduate programme for both medical and dental students. The Student Support Office plays a key role in student welfare, including the management of physical and mental illness, financial difficulties and the relationship of the School with the Students’ Association. At any time, students can make appointments with the Student Support Office, who is available to listen and give advice.
The Mentor scheme
The Barts and The London Mentor scheme has a vital role to play in enhancing the academic, professional and personal development of students as well as being designed to help them make the most of their time at medical school.
All medical students are assigned a Mentor who they meet throughout the year to check how they are getting on, discuss personal development and in the later years, support them through the application processes for Foundation School. In Year 3 students are assigned a clinician who is able to share their experiences of being a practising doctor or researcher as students progress into the more clinically intensive stages of the programme.
Mentors act as a guide to students by helping them to reflect on their experiences, both within and outside of the curriculum and to use this reflection to plan their future development. Where appropriate, mentors can also direct students to other sources of academic, pastoral and careers guidance within the School or College.
Mentors also provide personal and professional references to support student applications as well as offering support and advice for more general activities.
All students will meet their mentor on a yearly basis for a review of their achievements through the year and receive feedback on performance and advice on personal development planning. The reviews will be informed by the student’s portfolio and by their academic record.
Academic Year Tutors
Each year of the programme has two Academic Year Tutors (AYTs) who are on hand to support any student who encounters academic difficulties with their studies. The academic progress of all students is reviewed throughout the year and any student who is identified as struggling will be allocated to an AYT. The tutor will, in conjunction with the student, explore specific areas of difficulty and put together a plan to help address these until the student is back on track. An AYT may identify issues of pastoral care affecting academic performance and make appropriate referrals to other support groups within the School or College.
Student Support Office Benevolence Committee
The Student Support Office chairs a Benevolence Committee, which works with the College Advice and Counselling Service to allocate funds specifically available to the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Grants to support the Dean’s Benevolence Fund are donated by The Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital Trust and The Enid Linder Foundation.
If you have serious financial difficulties, the College and School will offer confidential and sympathetic advice and may be able to provide financial assistance.
Under the long-running and highly successful ‘Mummies and Daddies’ scheme, older students are responsible for taking freshers (first-year students) under their wing and giving them personal and academic support. You will first meet your new ‘parents’ during Freshers’ Fortnight. They will help you to sort out any immediate problems or concerns and then continue supporting you throughout the year, both academically with the loan of equipment or books and peer tutoring before exams, and by helping with emotional or personal problems.
In addition to the academic and personal support which you will receive within the School – from senior tutors and personal tutors – there are many other support and advisory services based at the Mile End campus. Both the Students’ Union and Students’ Association have welfare officers whom you can approach with problems, and the President of the Students’ Association is another source of help and advice for medical and dental students.
Queen Mary Advice and Counselling Service
This College-based service provides expert confidential student support and guidance on a whole range of matters including student finance, access bursaries, housing rights, council tax and immigration law, as well as both individual and group counselling. The staff are particularly skilled in the fields of counselling and financial matters and work with the Student Support Office Benevolence Committee.
Queen Mary Disability and Dyslexia Service
A wide range of students make use of disability and dyslexia support at the College. Students who do not necessarily consider themselves disabled are also offered support and guidance, for example those with long-term medical conditions, or dyslexia, which may have an impact on studies. People with short-term disabilities may also seek advice from the service. Sometimes, a condition which might not be considered a disability in daily life can become a substantial difficulty when studying in higher education. If strategies exist to overcome the effects of a particular disability or learning difficulty on studying, staff in the Disability and Dyslexia Service will help you to find them.
The Careers Service caters for the particular needs of medical students as they progress through their degree programme and begin professional practice. The Careers Service provides numerous resources for students at Barts and The London from the date of registration until graduation. Access to such specialised careers assistance enables students to develop the ability to reflect upon their strengths and interests in the early stages of their degree, which is invaluable in ensuring that they are able to evaluate their future possibilities and tailor their degree to suit their individual skills.
You are encouraged to be proactive in planning and developing the direction of your career through evaluating your degree options and selecting suitable electives and clinical placements. This will give you the opportunity to make the most of your career chances for the future. The careers programme assists students at Barts and The London in several ways.
Once enrolled as a student on the MB BS, you will be able to drop into the Queen Mary Careers Service for a personal chat regarding any concerns or questions you may have, from unique or specific issues to general concerns from students who are unsure where they want or expect their medical careers to take them.
For second year students and beyond, the careers programme is available for students with questions or uncertainties regarding possible options for clinical practice. Clinical placements are of utmost importance in both ensuring that students develop insight into which specialisms they are interested in pursuing upon completion of their degree, as well as providing them with specialised experience and knowledge which can be used to develop an effective and impressive portfolio that will impress prospective employers in the future.
The Careers Service also runs an annual Medical Careers Fair at Whitechapel in March. This event provides fourth-year students with the opportunity to liaise with senior representatives from a variety of medical backgrounds, giving students both the ability to network with respected representatives and to learn more about the range of employment opportunities available.
First port of call
The first port of call for any student seeking support is the Student Support Office, Room 2.46, Garrod Building