Getting involved in societies during your years in college is one of the most important things you should do, besides going to lectures.

 Many societies offer pizza, movie nights and the old favourite, a night on the town; but what about those who crave that adrenaline rush, those who are willing to put their skills to the test and fight for their survival like Bear Grylls in the Borneo Jungle? A newly established society in colleges nationwide offers medical students just that.

As the greatly anticipated Wilderness Weekend creeps up, medical students across Ireland pack their bags full of their finest woollies for a weekend of emergency medicine, sleeping rough and of course the dreaded Irish weather deep in the Wicklow Mountains. It may not be the Borneo Jungle just yet, but it has promised to put their survival and medical skills to the test over the course of two thrilling and fast-paced days.

The recently established society in NUIG, the Emergency Medicine Student Society Ireland (EMSSI), has already proven most successful in UCD, Trinity, and UCC in promoting emergency medicine (EM) which is a relatively new speciality in Ireland.

The EMSSI is a national student-based society conducted under the watchful eye of EM faculties across Ireland and is composed of medical students from across the country. It’s main aims are to encourage students to get involved in extracurricular activities pertaining to EM, to further connect medical colleges and also to promote EM as a potential and attractive career choice.

One major concern expressed by The College of Emergency Medicine is that, in Ireland and the UK, there are not enough emergency consultants available in hospitals. A study conducted in the UK in 2012, concluded that consultant based service delivery offers many advantages and that consultant expansion is urgently required to achieve this sustainably. Organisations such as the EMSSI are working towards this and are hoping to widen students perspectives by introducing them to the wild side of medicine.

Seán Dillane, a third year medical student and President of the EMSSI in NUIG, says that the collaboration of medical students nationwide is great for EM and that the workshops and trips planned by the EMSSI across Ireland will benefit medical students immensely.

“The society, however, doesn’t just cater to the EM speciality,” added Mr Dillane, “it caters to various specialities on both general and emergency levels. Paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and psychiatry will also be focused on during the workshops and talks planned for Galway and nationwide in the coming year.”

High altitude illness, remote setting traumas and wilderness survival, preparedness and improvisation are some of the main areas that will be covered in the upcoming weekend of emergency medicine and in other workshops and events organised by the EMSSI.

In order to strengthen, encourage and advance healthcare and EM such events and training are vital and have the potential to save hundreds of lives as our young, future doctors learn to improvise with limited supplies in any given situation.