Sixth form college’s science students given hands-on experience in operating theatre event

STUDENTS with a passion for a career in medicine were given a hands-on operating theatre experience that was not for the squeamish when a touring medical company let them wield their scalpels.

Med-Soc’s Operating Theatre Live visited Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton to give around 40 students the chance to dissect real organs and tissues including brains, eyes, lungs and hearts, in operating theatre conditions.

A group of 20 Richard Taunton students studying A-level Biology and Chemistry and GCSE Science took part, along with Year 9 to 11 pupils from Cantell and Upper Shirley High schools, Regents Park Community College and the Southampton Home Education Group.

The students, kitted out in full PPE, learnt about organ structure and function and how different diseases affect the body.

Rachel Powell, Head of Science at the college, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for students to experience real life medical dissections and their concentration while working was incredible.

“This experience is critical for students to get a taste and extra enthusiasm for what a medical career could be like.”

She said many of the college’s science students typically go on to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy. “Universities recognise this event as very relevant experience on prospective students’ personal statements and it really gives young people a glimpse of what their future career could be like,” she added.

“We want to offer all of our students the most realistic insight into their chosen careers to give them as much understanding as possible.”

A-level student Martina Chukarska said the event had given her a good idea of what medicine can be like. “This was the very best experience because it was so real,” she said. “Science is my passion and I am going on to specialise in dermatology. The skills from this workshop will certainly help me.”

Med-Soc’s events, which have been featured on BBC2’s Dragons Den, give students aged over 14 all over the country live operating theatre experience to help shape and inform their interest in a medical career.

The college in Upper Shirley has been graded ‘Good’ after an Ofsted inspection in January. Read the full Ofsted report at

Richard Taunton Sixth Form College science students Sandy Stojakovic, left, Martina Chukarska, Kiavash Yaghoubian, Jibra’il Ali and Dave Calin at the Operating Theatre Live event