Medical students’ rap video goes international

It may sound more Eminem than A&E but two Swansea University medical students have produced a rap video for junior doctors to highlight what do when patients have an epileptic fit.

Now Cara Thomas, aged 28, and Rachel Deller, 30, have shared it with colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic. 

The pair, both in their fourth year at Swansea University Medical School, came up with the unique teaching tool after being set a challenge by ABMU consultant paediatrician Dr Pramodh Vallabhaneni.

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Cara Thomas aka Lil C (third left) with her fellow medical students

During their child health speciality attachment, students get an opportunity to present a key learning of a topic in five minutes, as a part of a peer-led student tutorial, and Cara decided to present her topic, Status Epilepticus, through a rap song. 

Encouraged by the reaction to the rap – which includes lyrics such as ‘Do what you do in any emergency, Secure the airway and give them oxygen therapy’ - a video has been produced. 

Cara and Rachel addressed the University of Southern California’s Innovations in Medical Education Conference in Los Angeles this month. 

Dr Pramodh Vallabhaneni said: “It is brilliant that they got to showcase their work at a prestigious international conference and as a department we are very proud of their achievement.” 

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Cara Thomas (left) and Rachel Deller

Cara, who uses the rap name Lil C, said: “I thought it would be a bit more fun to teach people using a rap instead of just using a PowerPoint presentation. I wrote the lyrics and then added a backing track. 

“To be honest, I just did it as a bit of a joke to begin with; a bit of fun on a Friday afternoon but everyone really enjoyed it. 

“Thankfully I didn’t have to stand up and perform it in front of the class, I put it on a backing track, using a rap track app, and played it on a speaker.” 

Rachel said: “A lot of medical students are already using YouTube these days. There are some great educational videos out there so we thought, ‘Why not combine the two?’ 

“When it came to making the video we realised, ‘We actually have to do this!’ We started off with writing a script but knew we had to make it fun as well as factual, so people would be more likely to remember it. 

“We had to rake in a lot of our friends in order to make the video – everyone you see in it are in their final year of the course. We paid them in cookies!”

So far the video has received widespread praise from their peers and tutors alike. 

As well as being a lot of fun there was an academic side to the project which Cara explained: “Our project compared the results of a standard presentation to that of our rap video and it found that the music video does just as well as a standard presentation.” 

As far as any follow ups go it’s a case of watch this space as Cara explained: “Both of us are interested in doing medical education alongside being a GP in the future so it would be good to have a few more videos at some point. Who knows, at some stage we could release an album of medical raps!”