In the year of the Medical School's 60th anniversary, it seems the pace of groundbreaking medical research and innovation is accelerating faster now than ever.
Fourth-year medical student Tobias Richards belongs to this brave new world of medical practitioners who will use these high-tech medical tools in as little as five to 10 years.
“New medical tools are helping improve the future of healthcare from more accurate CT scans that produce 3D images, to MRIs without contrast agents and more efficient and effective surgery using virtual reality tools,” he said.
In 2017, the humble stethoscope entered its 201st year as the most universal diagnostic tool in medicine but this is all about to change.
“Ultrasound technology is being increasingly adopted at the point of care with new pocket-sized tools that add vision to sound for use at all patient bedsides,” he said.
These changes might seem unfathomable to some of UWA’s first medical students but they are a result of better sharing of information, teams of researchers being more tightly connected and availability of funding for medical research.
“Today medical students are encouraged to engage in health and medical research and fortunately UWA pairs us with a research mentor to guide us on research principles during our study.
“This opportunity is beneficial for my professional pathway and evolving practice so although I’m really busy, it has been an invaluable experience to work with my mentor, Professor George Yeoh BSC, PhD (Cancer Council).
“It helps to be exposed to new ideas where I can think critically, write and record what I do. Then I can present this concisely and precisely in any diagnoses or conclusions that I draw later on.
“This also leads to better patient care and outcomes that eventually transfer into the best outcomes for society.
“Being a doctor in the 21st century is a career of life-long learning. It is a challenge to keep up with advancing technology but these new tools are improving medical practice.
“There is no doubt that studying medicine is a challenge and students need to understand the hard work that’s required, but the sense of achievement when you make a diagnosis is worth it.
“I’m privileged to treat patients, to learn from them and know that I am making a difference in their lives,” Tobias said.
At Research Week you can hear more from Tobias and three other medical students (Audrey Kim, Anika Mittal and Thisuri Jayawardena) at “What is it like to be a Medical Student in 2017?” on Thursday, 7 September.