The BMA: what is it and how can you get the most out of your membership?

Hi everyone, my name’s Twishaa and I’m a third-year medic. This year I’m grateful to have been elected Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association (BMA)’s Medical Students Committee (MSC) and Chair of their Welfare Subcommittee. The BMA MSC is made of elected reps from each medical school. As a committee, we are the representation of UK medical students. In a nutshell, we work to ensure all your voices are heard on issues affecting us as doctors in training. To find out a bit more about how this all works and how you can get involved, check out this short video here: http://vimeo.com/106125353.

4478501335_122229e501_zAs well as this, through the role I’ve learnt so much about what the BMA can offer to us as medical students as well as representation and I’m hoping to share some of these really useful resources with you today so that you can make sure you are really getting the most of your student membership with them.

Library

The BMA Library is a hidden gem of services designed to make our lives easier. These include a huge range of books to browse on the online catalogue. You can borrow up to 15 for 3 months and renew 3 times. The books are posted out to you first class with a paid-for return envelope to send them back – absolutely free of charge. Don’t want to wait for the post? Access 60 journals and over 1000 e-books including titles like the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine directly at your fingertips. Along with this is access to Medline 24/7 with a dedicated support helpline for guidance. To start using the BMA Library, visit http://bma.org.uk/about-the-bma/bma-library

Revision Courses and Webinars

BMA Careers runs webinars throughout the year on a variety of practical topics so you can choose when and where you want to learn. Topics earlier this year included ‘Preparing for your Situational Judgement Test’, ‘Dealing with difficult personalities’ and ‘How to create an effective portfolio’ – they’re the practical, useful things that nobody really teaches us at medical school.  In addition, you’re eligible to access all The BMJ’s learning resources too, including hundreds of e-learning modules.

Next up, the Ask Doctor Clarke revision courses are tailored to cover the fundamentals of each subject in a single day for medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology and the Prescribing Safety Assessment. 99.7% of people attending go on to pass their finals and as BMA member we’re entitled to a discount when booking. You can find out more here: http://www.askdoctorclarke.com/courses.php

You can access a list of upcoming events and webinars here: http://bma.org.uk/events/2015 or listen back to previous webinars here: http://www.bmawebinar.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcasts

Guidance

Confused on where to start with choosing your elective? Take a look at the guidance available here, including managing common ethical dilemmas that we’re likely to experience on elective, and help on getting an electives insurance policy tailored to meet medical students’ needs: https://bma.org.uk/developing-your-career/medical-student/choosing-your-medical-elective

Choosing a medical specialty and unsure how to go about deciding? The BMA’s got an insider guide to becoming a doctor and what each specialty is like: http://bma.org.uk/developing-your-career/medical-student/an-insider-guide-to-medical-specialties

Are you studying with dependents? Or studying with dyslexia? The BMA offers comprehensive guidance on what support is available and your legal rights: http://bma.org.uk/developing-your-career/medical-student/common-challenges-while-studying

Support

The BMA can support you individually, at the local level, if you’re experiencing problems at medical school, for example failing exams, personal conduct issues, cases of discrimination or not being able to complete studies due to ill health. Have a look at the types of support that can be provided and how you can contact an adviser here: http://bma.org.uk/membership/a-better-deal/bma-support-for-medical-students

As well as this, they provide a confidential telephone counselling service absolutely free of charge. It’s staffed by professional telephone counsellors and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: http://bma.org.uk/practical-support-at-work/doctors-well-being/about-doctors-for-doctors

In a nutshell, the BMA offers loads for your membership so make sure you are getting the most out of it!