Two Sunderland sisters training to become doctors after being inspired by NHS care for their grandfather
Two sisters have became the first from Southmoor Academy Sixth Form to land places in the School of Medicine at the University of Sunderland.
Sisters Lucy and Laura Giles were inspired to train as doctors following their grandfather’s experiences as a stroke patient and the support the NHS provided to him.
Laura, aged 21, is currently in her third year of the MBChB Medicine degree and was one of the first students to join the programme when it launched in 2019.
Lucy, 18, has since followed in her sister’s footsteps and joined the course this term after being impressed with the new facilities and friendly staff at an open day.
She said: “I have always loved the sciences and from a young age I was interested in working in the NHS.
"I completed my work experience at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which reinforced my desire to work in that field, and set my sights on applying to university.
“I was very keen to apply to local universities and as Sunderland Medical School was due to open in 2019, it automatically became my first choice.
“Although I received a number of offers to study medicine across the country, my passion was to work within the north-east where I grew up.
“Being at Sunderland Medical School will allow me to give back to the community I was raised in, hopefully working alongside doctors and medical staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
“My aim is to make other people better; I know you can’t fix everyone, but I can certainly try.”
As part of the course, Laura has started her clinical placements, which will see her working on various hospital wards over a three-year period, and has expressed her pride in her sister.
She added: “Seeing Lucy in her first year makes me so proud, even if I hadn’t decided on a career in medicine, I know she still would have been here, she’s so dedicated to sciences and is so hardworking.”
Since starting the course, Lucy has revealed that having her older sister just a couple of years ahead of her is helping with her studies.
She commented: “I am really enjoying the course so far. I am really keen to learn more about the subject each week. My favourite part of the course so far is anatomy.
“It is extremely useful having my sister Laura on the same course as she has already been through it therefore knows what is expected.
"If I haven’t been sure about a specific area Laura has been able to give me some support and reassurance. It’s also useful being able to ask for advice on revision techniques and how much to revise.”
The pair are from a non-medical background and have revealed that both parents are proud of their children’s achievements so far.
Lucy added: “They have witnessed how challenging and difficult it has been to get into medicine and also all the hard work we had to do.
“They were absolutely over the moon when we both received offers for Sunderland.
"They are so excited to see what the future holds for us.”