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The University of Southampton
Clinical Ethics and Law at Southampton

5 Reasons why you should do an Elective with CELS - Jake Rickwood

Jake Rickwood
Jake Rickwood

Dip your toes into research:

Before this elective I had pretty much decided that research was just not my cup of tea, I had given it a go in my 3rd year and it didn’t seem like my kind of thing. I was wrong. It turns out research isn’t just lab work or number crunching. Working with PhD students and researchers, I looked into public perception of genetics, big claims made by home DNA testing kits and how science is often inaccurately portrayed by the media. Transcribing interviews gave me a fresh insight into patient journeys through IVF and challenged my own ideas about preconception genetic testing. Whether you’re a lover or hater of research, an elective with CELS gives you the chance to get involved with unique research carried out in Southampton.

Opportunities for new Clinical Experiences:

Even though I’ll be graduating from Southampton soon, I’ve done most of my clinical placements outside of Southampton. So for me, getting some time on the wards as well as academic activities was a huge bonus. I had my first experience of Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) during this elective and it was truly one of the highlights of my time at medical school. Every member of the team were welcoming and enthusiastic. I observed procedures, engaged in ethical discussions and even had the chance to go out with the retrieval team in a blue light ambulance!

Have your say on the CELS module:

Everyone has opinions about their university course, but to be given an opportunity to look at the resources and improve them for future students was a first for me. My views on how the resources could be improved were really valued by the CELS team, my own experience of the course allowed me to give useful suggestions on how to improve. I’m a big fan of twitter as an educational tool and CELS were really excited to hear about ideas I had to improve student engagement by using social media.

See Ethics in Clinical Practice:

Medicine and ethics are very closely linked, this elective has allowed me to really reflect on ethical dilemmas that frequently arise in a wide variety of specialties. In cancer genetics clinic, where a positive BRCA mutation has implications not only for the patient but also their family, discussions around sharing information and confidentiality are commonplace. Issues surrounding capacity to consent were raised often for patients I saw during my time on the Medicine for Older People’s ward. I had the chance to not only see the ethical dilemmas arise, but also to discuss with healthcare professionals how they work through them and come to a decision.

Flexibility & Free time:

I packed a whole load of academic and clinical experiences into my time with CELS but the best part was having freedom and flexibility with my timetable. This gave me plenty of time to fit in clinical experiences and work on the research projects but it was also time I could use to have day trips, visit my family at home and have the occasional lazy day.


It really is true that the elective is one of the best parts of Medical school! I cannot thank the CELS team enough for their support and help in organising one of the most interesting and engaging placements I’ve had!     

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