Final year Medicine students at Exeter Uni will graduate early to join fight against COVID-19

‘We are humbled and inspired by their selflessness’

A group of final year Medicine and Medical Imaging students at the University of Exeter have opted to graduate early to join the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.

An email sent to Exeter students this morning from the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir Steve Smith, tells of how more than 90 final year students have chosen to graduate early in order to join the fight against COVID-19.

He writes: “Tomorrow I will have the honour of presiding over an online graduation celebration for more than 90 of our final year students in Medicine and Medical Imaging. These students have chosen to graduate three months early in order immediately to take up their posts as junior doctors and diagnostic radiographers, and so to join the NHS in the fight against Coronavirus in communities across the country.”

We're incredibly proud to announce that our Medicine and Medical Imaging students have opted to graduate early so they…

Posted by University of Exeter on Friday, 3 April 2020

Sir Steve Smith explains how he has been “humbled and inspired by their selflessness,” and criticises the term “snowflake generation” that is often associated with students of this generation.

He adds: “Now, in the time of our greatest national and global crisis since the Second World War, we see young people of this country and of our University standing up to be counted and making huge personal sacrifices.”

Exeter’s Vice-Chancellor invites the student community to show support through watching the students read the Hippocratic oath – pledging to serve humanity, to care for the sick, to alleviate pain and suffering and to care for all patients equally and without prejudice.

This will be made available online in the days following the celebration.

In a post on the University of Exeter’s Facebook page, final year Medical student Molly tells of why she made the decision to graduate early and take up a job as a Junior Doctor on the NHS. She says although it’s a “daunting prospect” to start work in the middle of a Pandemic, she feels “proud that I can use the skills that I have developed over the last five or six years in a way that will help the nation in the fight against COVID-19.”















Although Molly was taken away from her two month medical experience in New York after just two weeks, she says she “is lucky that Exeter has prepared us with lots of experience in hospitals,” so she feels ready to help. Although unsure of what the next weeks look like, Molly is “ready to get stuck in and do my bit.”

As well as the early graduation, the University of Exeter has also been helping the national effort by donating vital equipment and supplies to be used on the frontline. This includes hundreds of boxes of gloves, facemasks and other Personal Protective Equipment, which have been donated to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Devon County Council and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

The University of Exeter academics and researcher teams are also working to develop a new understanding of the virus and means to combat it. As well as this direct impact, Sir Steve Smith also expresses gratitude for “those teams who have halted their own work and made their equipment available in the national interest.”

He shares one thing that everyone can do to support the efforts made at Exeter: Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

For the latest NHS and Government advice on COVID-19, see here

If you’re feeling inspired to do your bit to help the NHS, click here

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