Thursday, 28 February 2013

Heart dissection


The past few weeks have been a busy few weeks. Lectures have been getting much tougher, there have been more lab sessions per week than normal and the March deadlines are fast approaching! I am finding myself in the red zone of the Drill Hall library more often nowadays than I had ever imagined was possible! If the second year is like this, I don’t even want to imagine how the final year will be! I will probably end up making the library my permanent second home if I could! The hope that I will be able to graduate with a first next year if I keep all this hard work going is my only motivation right now…

Last week, during the Physiological Systems and Regulation lab session, we were lucky enough to carry out a heart dissection on a sheep’s heart. As the cardiovascular system has always been an area of science that I have been interested in from a young age and an area which I had always hoped to specialise in (should I get the opportunity to study medicine in the future) I was very eager to get underway with the dissection the minute I entered the lab! I had carried out a rat and sheep’s eye dissection when studying Biology during my A-levels, so I was quite confident with the dissection procedures in the lab and knew exactly what to expect (some of my friends on the other hand who had never done any dissections before felt very queasy…. one friend in particular had to leave the lab for a while to get some fresh air because it was too overwhelming for her).  I found the lab session very valuable as it gave me the chance to actually apply the things I had learnt about the cardiovascular system in lectures and in various textbooks in a practical way, giving me a better understanding of the heart, such as all its anatomical landmarks and the way in which they function. I was so surprised just how small the atria were in comparison to the ventricles and just how strong the condrinae tendinae were! Although I managed to locate all the anatomical landmarks of the heart relatively easily, I was disappointed I couldn't locate the sinoatrial node (the pacemaker of the heart) – although I was reassured by the lecturer that it was very hard to do, after all the effort and time I put into trying to locate it, it would have been really satisfying if I had actually managed to succeed…

Apart from that, I have been busy trying to find voluntary work and summer placements I can apply for.  I recently found a really good opportunity to volunteer in schools, through an organisation called STEMNET, which allows its members to teach the subject they are studying/ specialise in- I've sent my application off and keeping my fingers crossed for that. But as for summer placements… that is a whole different story. I have searched and searched but still not found one! If anyone has any ideas where I can find a placement in the health/ research sector it will be much appreciated!

Here are some pictures from the heart dissection I thought I’d end this month’s blogs with…


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