Meet Medical Student, Thomas.
Thomas recently joined the Kidney Wales team on a voluntary basis for a period of 6 weeks. Thomas has been passionate and dedicated to helping us refresh and revise our website content for you. Here he writes about his experiences and what he has learnt about kidney disease.
Hello! My name is Thomas and I am a final year medical student based in Cardiff. At medical school, I have had the privilege of meeting a diverse range of patients in different healthcare environments throughout Wales. As I progressed through my training, I learnt not only the practical elements of medicine – assessing patients, interpreting results and suggesting treatment plans, but also equally important key aspects that underpin good clinical practice. Effective communication is one such aspect which goes hand in hand with the right treatments, when delivering the best possible care. Patient education is a vital part of doctor-patient communication. Individuals with a good understanding of their own health are in the best position to work together with their doctor, plan ahead and make informed decisions.
Over the course of the past two months, I have been working closely with Kidney Wales to review and update information on this website. My main focus has been on creating a platform where visitors can browse information all about the kidneys, with an emphasis on chronic kidney disease (CKD). I have written explainers and included links to external resources, in the hope that they may help to answer questions you might have on what CKD is; the ways in which it is diagnosed, lifestyle choices to consider and the treatment approaches which may be addressed by your doctor.
This project has taught me a great deal about patients’ experiences with chronic disease, and has given me an insight into healthcare from an alternative perspective. Speaking to individuals with CKD has highlighted how varied each person’s journey can be and it has been fascinating to learn about patients’ lives and interests outside of the clinical environment. Having worked in the Emergency Department earlier on in the pandemic, I was involved in the care of acutely unwell patients – it was insightful to hear from a different group of patients living with a chronic condition how the pandemic had affected their daily activities. I have also had the opportunity to practise explaining medical tests and procedures in lay terms, a skill that will be crucial to my future career as a doctor. In addition to working with Kidney Wales I have been observing kidney transplant cases at the operating table, where I was able to develop an understanding of the anatomy and complex surgical techniques involved.
I hope that the information resources which can be found under ‘About Kidney Disease’ will prove a useful read and help establish topics to discuss further with your doctor. I would like to give my thanks to Jude Stone, Chelsea Fraser and Mr Michael Stephens for their guidance.