The current holder of the Mark Quested Exhibition is Zoe de Toledo, former Olympic silver medalist and Oxford University student, where she is currently in her fourth and final year of a graduate-entry degree in Medicine. She is at the forefront of the COVID testing programme.
“It’s been quite a challenging year, as you can imagine. Our studies were paused in March for around 4 months, during which time I joined the team running the COVID staff testing programme that we have been running at the Oxford University Hospitals. Despite going back to our studies in July I have continued working with the staff testing team alongside my studies, taking on more responsibility and eventually working with a small group of doctors, senior nurses, and hospital managers to actually help organise and run the programme. This has involved setting up new clinics, and supervising their day to day running, organising the training and scheduling of our workforce, dealing with testing for small outbreaks within the hospital staff, running the email query inbox, and working with the rest of the management team to solve new issues as they arise.
We have around 15,000 staff members enrolled in our asymptomatic staff testing infection control programme, and have also tested thousands of symptomatic staff members. I have also been working some weekends testing members of the public who have needed a COVID swab before they have operations the following.
Our studies have been condensed following the break, so everything is fairly full-on at the moment, and we are currently ramping up towards our final exams around Easter. Being a medical student during this pandemic has been a huge challenge, as a lot of our clinical placements have been severely limited and often changed at short notice, but having the chance to give back to the medical community by getting involved with the staff testing has been incredibly rewarding, and I have learnt lots of skills (both clinical, and in communications/management) which I am sure will serve me well in my future career.
I hope you are all doing well, and I will have the chance to see/speak to you all again before the academic year is out. Please do let me know if there are any future ways I can be involved, and pass my best on to everyone.”