Faeez "Fizz" Ramjan, a former medical school society president shares his personal experience of supporting medical students during the lockdown and what it taught him about leadership.

Taking on the duties as an officer while studying at university can be rewarding – but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. However, taking on these duties as the world is engulfed in a global pandemic isn’t quite what a student might have in mind when they’re elected to become president of the medical student’s association for Guy’s, King’s, and St Thomas’ medical school (GKT MSA).

We spoke to Faeez "Fizz" Ramjan, a fourth year medical student at King’s College London, about his experience working as the society’s president alongside his studies and how the society has supported students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What does the medical student’s association do?

The GKT MSA is a group of elected students who advocate for student’s needs; from social, to welfare, to educational needs. The society works with the faculty and the wider student union to raise concerns, signpost for welfare, and also to put on a host of different events for the 2,000 students in the medical school.

These include educational events, for example, OSCE lectures where doctors come in to teach OSCE skills, as well as welfare events such as wellbeing week. The society also supports students’ social needs with social events, for example for fresher’s fortnight and a winter ball.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medical students

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on medical education, leaving many students unsure how their progress through medical school will be affected. For almost all students across the country, physical lectures and in-person placements were cancelled, in some cases overnight, responding to government requirements to enforce a nationwide lockdown. 

However, it’s not just the disruption to studies that students are worried about. As Fizz remarks, "from a welfare perspective, many of our students may be vulnerable or have family members who are also vulnerable, and these sorts of stresses, as well as the stresses of medical school in general, can actually be very overwhelming."