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Anna Harvey ;

Beyond the Ward: Swapping a stethoscope for a pen

Final year medical student Anna Harvey has always had a keen interest in writing and editing. She has pursued her interest during her time at King’s, becoming Editor-in-Chief of the GKT Gazette, the magazine for students in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, the Dental Institute and the School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s.

Enjoying that journalistic experience led her to look for other opportunities, so when an Editorial Scholar placement came up at The British Medical Journal (BMJ), she jumped at the chance to temporarily swap her stethoscope for a pen. We caught up with Anna to find out more.

A tweet from granny

Worrying about the impact of taking a year out of medical school and whether she was suitable, it was Anna’s grandma sending her a link to the job advert on Twitter that finally persuaded her to apply for the role.

What was on offer was a year-long editorial training programme with The British Medical Journal (BMJ), one of the most renowned medical journals in the world. The advert offered a chance to work with their international team of editors to be trained in journalism and editing, commissioning, peer reviews and to be involved with publishing the journal in print and online.

“She told me to go for it! What excited me the most was the prospect of creating resources that could be of use to medical students and junior doctors in fulfilling their potential.

“The Medical School faculty was supportive in allowing me the year out I needed to take up the opportunity,” added Anna.

Anna Harvey

On the job training

After submitting an application that included ideas for three articles, Anna was invited to an interview at The BMJ offices in BMA House. “I ended up talking with the panel for just under an hour and was sure by the end they would be sick of me and I had no chance of being offered the place,” she said.

The call offering her the job actually came through whilst Anna was sitting her fourth-year finals. “I turned my phone on after the exam to find missed calls from an unknown number and an email offering me the job.

“It was doubly exciting to be done with exams for the year and have got the job – though I was still a bit concerned about telling the medical school I wanted to take a year out!” she added.

Anna is halfway through her year at the BMJ and has already experienced so much. She looks after content for students and junior doctors which includes writing articles, discussing pitch ideas, leading on social media and the student podcast, Sharp Scratch.

“I've had the chance to learn loads of new skills such as attending press conferences, writing news pieces and speaking at conferences. I work closely with the clinical editors at The BMJ as well as the Editorial Registrar, who is a FY3 doctor,” Anna said.

Podcasting

Podcasting has been a favourite experience for Anna.

“Podcasting was a completely new medium for me, so learning what makes good subject matter, how to structure the recordings and learning the best ways to reach out to expert guests was definitely a challenge.

“Recording the podcast is a lot of fun. We have a panel of medical students and junior doctors who come into the studio and it's a really nice atmosphere,” she added.

The podcast discusses the ‘hidden curriculum’ of medicine and is aimed at medical students and newly qualified doctors.

 

I've had the chance to learn loads of new skills such as attending press conferences, writing news pieces and speaking at conferences. I work closely with the clinical editors at the BMJ, as well as the Editorial Registrar, who is a FY3 doctor on a year out like me.– Anna

Looking to the future

Halfway through her year at The BMJ, Anna says she has learnt so much already and she is looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds. She would certainly love to gain more work experience at The BMJ or a similar journal after finishing her degree at King’s, but is still planning on practicing as a doctor when she qualifies.

“It is going to be strange returning to King’s after all my friends have graduated and become doctors, but I figure there’s no rush.

“I would certainly recommend my experience and say to anyone considering something similar to go for it. Sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission!” Anna added.

If you are interested in contributing to BMJ Student feel free to get in touch with Anna at aharvey@bmj.com, or via Twitter, where she can be found at @a_c_harvey

 

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