Katie Dunleavy’s first degree was music, with a minor in medicine. “My focus on music was as an opera singer and I took my degree very seriously. I really enjoyed it and I knew it was something I excelled in. As a child I had the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall, so I knew it was something I didn’t want to fully give up.”

When Dunleavy (25) graduated from her arts college in the US in 2012, she moved to Uganda for a year. She worked for a NGO which operated emergency departments throughout the country and trained nurses to work in them. “I had a mixed role there, on one hand organising the curriculum and education for the nurses, but I was also in the emergency departments with patients. It was the happiest I had ever been and I found the work very fulfilling. I think that was definitely the turning point. I was never 100 per cent sure before, but I had seen some of the worst things I would ever see there and still knew that medicine was the right path for me.”

The RCSI was top of Dunleavy’s choice for medical schools.

“I had heard about their graduate medical entry programme and the experience you can get; the diversity of the class, and how it fosters really excellent discussion and learning. After Uganda, I was itching for an international healthcare experience and you just can’t get that in the US.

“The RCSI is internationally recognised as producing an excellent calibre of students. The clinical and hands-on experience you get in hospitals like Beaumont and throughout the country is fantastic and it’s something I experienced from my very first year.

“It helps you stay motivated as a student and to keep an eye on what the end goal is”.

This post was originally published in ‘The Irish Times’ on October 2, 2015. To view the original article, please click here.

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