Students Sophie Goodrum (left) and Faye Norman (right) with Dr Ian Fussell.

From rehearsal to the stage, Cornwall medics perform at Glastonbury festival

A group of Exeter Medical Students navigated a 900 acre site while battling deep mud and manoeuvring crowds of people to deliver top medical care at Glastonbury Festival.

Six trainee medics from the University of Exeter Medical School, along with a researcher at Bournemouth University, put all their training into practice as they manned the first aid tent.

The students undertook five days of special training to prep them for the extremities of the music festival, located in Somerset. They worked two 8 hour shifts – one of them from midnight to 8am - to provide quality care for the festival-goers in case of emergency.

James Pay, a third year student on the Medicine programme, and one of the student volunteers, said: “Being given the opportunity to volunteer with FMS as a First Responder and First Aider was an excellent privilege. Working with such amazing people who were so committed to helping patients was a great thing to experience. Seeing the impact of drugs first hand was truly eye-opening too. Often as medical students we get fewer opportunities to experience acute situations, so volunteering with FMS gave us the opportunity to not only see these patients, but help to diagnose and treat them. This provides us with much more responsibility than we are given whilst at medical school. This increased responsibility has helped to boost my confidence in my diagnosis and initial management. This opportunity was greatly appreciated and I would strongly recommend volunteering to anyone. I certainly will be returning in the future if I can.”

Sophie Goodrum, also a third year Medicine student, shared some knowledge on the difficulties that the team faced: “It was challenging working in a festival environment; we navigated a 900 acre site, battled deep mud, hordes of people and loud music in order to deliver good medical care. The experience will definitely help me provide emergency care confidently both within and outside the clinical setting. I can’t wait to work with FMS again."

Cate Wood, who was also part of the medical team, is conducting a research project through Bournemouth University looking at the influence of the outdoor music festival experience on the health (physical, mental, social) of the visitors. Cate joined medical students as a first responder and also as a volunteer at the festival. She said the students “helped me with my data collection and were a great asset to me.”

Dr Ian Fussell, Community Sub Dean in Truro, said: “The students experienced providing first aid and health care in a very challenging environment. The volume of people and the poor weather conditions made it particularly hard this year. The students had trained as First Responders and were really on the front line. They approached their responsibilities with skill and professionalism and I am very proud of them.”

The Medical School has a partnership with Festival Medical Services (FMS) – an organisation that provides cover at large-scale music events while raising money for charity events - which enables six year 3 students to work as First Aid volunteers at Glastonbury Festival each year. Becky Benham, another student volunteer, said: “Working with FMS was a fantastic opportunity. Not only was it great to be working in a festival environment, but FMS feels like a family that will look after you along the way.”

Students are invited to apply each year and are expected to contribute to the funding of their training for this role.

For more information on how to apply, contact Dr Fussell, Community Sub Dean in Truro.

Date: 8 July 2016

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