Local woman fighting cancer endorses Centre for Medicine Appeal

Posted by er134 at Feb 23, 2015 10:50 AM |
Breast cancer patient champions new medical curriculum at University of Leicester in moving video

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 23 February 2015

You can watch and share the Centre for Medicine Appeal video here: Training Tomorrow’s Doctors – Centre for Medicine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS1UkZNNEwI

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images.

ALL multimedia must be credited: ‘Credit: University of Leicester’ unless stated otherwise

A 41-year-old woman from Leicester has spoken of the transformative influence of well-trained doctors as she backed the University of Leicester’s Centre for Medicine Appeal, encouraging everyone to play a part in the development of a new generation of healthcare and medical education for the region.

Nicola O’Brien, who was diagnosed with breast cancer early last year, has endorsed the University of Leicester’s plans to transform medical teaching, hailing the emphasis on empathetic and holistic treatment,  in a moving new video.

Nicola said: “My life before cancer was very energetic, fun and crazy. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was without a big umbrella hanging over your head. Cancer has been in our family and you kind of grow up with it, knowing about it, but never thinking it will affect you in your own life. And then it hits you, and you feel devastated because you are told that you have cancer.

“Being reassured by my doctors put my mind at rest because when you’re being poked with needles, it is quite awful and can be daunting. However, when you’ve got a doctor being very kind and funny, you have that little bit of a relationship for that moment, when you can put a laugh in a horrible situation. It’s alright your family and friends saying ‘you’re going to be fine’, but you need your doctor to tell you as well.”

The University has plans to revolutionise its medical curriculum in the new £42 million state-of-the-art Centre for Medicine building, which is set to open on Lancaster Road this autumn. Patients will be at the heart of students’ learning as a result of new technologies which will live-stream patient consultations into lecture theatres; through group learning spaces where patients will be invited to interact with students about their experiences; and with increased opportunities for first and second years to work with patients on wards.

This new curriculum will enable teachers to place much more emphasis on the impact of a disease on patients and their families, inviting patients to give first-hand accounts of their experiences, generating doctors who think about the patient first and not just the pathology of the disease.

Professor Nick London, Head of the Department of Medical and Social Care Education at the University explained: “The unique thing about our new curriculum is that the whole focus throughout will be on patients. The main impact I hope on students will be that they always think of the patient first and their family and the whole curriculum will be designed along those lines with the start of the teaching in any disease on the impact on the patient.”

Fifth year medical student, Ted Artley added: “The new Centre for Medicine will provide more space, the best new technologies and a better learning environment in general for future students. Students will be interacting with patients from day one of their degree which will further improve their bedside manner training.”

The University has committed £32 million to the cutting-edge facility which represents the largest investment in medical teaching and applied research by a UK university in the last decade, and is seeking to raise an additional £10 million via an ambitious fundraising campaign. The Centre for Medicine Appeal will enable the University to complete the building and equip the six-storey Centre. More than £1.7m has already been raised towards the target.

Steve O’Connor, Director of Development at the University said: “We are delighted with the support we have already received for the Centre for Medicine Appeal and hope that this video and Nicola’s story will encourage more support for this facility which will really be unique in training tomorrow’s doctors, fighting chronic disease, and ultimately revolutionising patient care locally, nationally and around the world.”

The new Centre will act as a hub, bringing together, for the first time, the University’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students; currently spread across multiple sites in the city, to completely transform medical teaching and improving the lives of many more patients like Nicola.

It will also include a range of facilities such as teaching and seminar rooms, laboratory research facilities and informal learning support and meeting spaces.

To make a £5 donation to the Centre for Medicine Appeal, text TMRW15 £5 to 70070, or for more information, please visit www.le.ac.uk/savinglives



  • Nicola O’Brien, Steve O’Connor, Ted Artley and Professor London are all available for interview. They can be contacted through the University of Leicester’s Press Office via ac555@le.ac.uk

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