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What To Do On Your Medical Work Experience

By Dukes Medical Applications
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This blog details how best to make the most out of your medical work experience, including practical tips as to how best to optimise this experience.

What to do whilst on your work experience

Work experience in a medical environment can be a daunting idea for a student who may have never been in a clinical environment before. In this blog we look at how you can document your experiences and best utilise the time spent at work experience.

Contact work experience organisations as well as directly to the different medical practices

Listed below are the different organisations which you can utilise for planning medical work experience. Get in touch with any of these organisations, either on their website, or for a more personal touch on the phone to find out what opportunities they may have for work experience. You can approach charities or local hospitals directly, or use an agency designed to help students find opportunities for work in relevant sectors.

Great places to start looking for medical work experience are listed here:

  • Do – it volunteering
  • Step into the NHS
  • Sue Ryder/Barnardos
  • GOV.uk
  • NCVO
  • Royal Voluntary Service

Keep a diary for reference

Although volunteering or work experience is rewarding in itself, what will be more rewarding for academic purposes will be to keep a journal of the roles and responsibilities you have undertaken. It can be as simple as half a sheet of A4 of notes every night. This means when it comes to both writing your personal statement, and answering questions in your interview, you will be able to remember more vividly what exactly you did.

Find out as much as you can

Work experience is a great opportunity for you to gain insight into different people’s roles within either the medical world, or within a public community role. The way to do this is to ask as many questions, both to the professionals you are working with, and the patients or recipients of care that you are helping. From this you will gain a greater understanding of the practical (rather than just the theoretical) of changes in healthcare policy, and the people who are affected by it.

Make sure that the work experience is applicable to Medicine/Healthcare

No matter what you choose to do work experience, or what opportunities are available to you, the work experience must have skills which could carry over to a medical profession. If you work in an office, for 2 weeks, whilst this may display skills which are relevant for other fields of education, such as law, this will not be as relevant for medicine as something like working in a care home, or working with children with special needs. Adopting a position of care will show that you have the right mind-set to be committed to helping people. Medical school is a large commitment with generally 6 years of university, with further training once you have your degree, and therefore you would need to prove that you genuinely want to help people.

Make note of a few standout moments where you demonstrated skills which a doctor may display

If you do work experience for one week, or a fortnight, you will obviously not have as many moments to draw from as for instance, if you volunteered every weekend for two years. However, there may be one or two moments which you feel were significant, such as when someone thanked you for your hard work, or when you went above and beyond your station in order to help someone. If this was working in a food bank, this may be when you got to know one of the homeless people, and found out about why they were in this situation, if it was working in an old people’s home, it might be helping a resident, and getting to know their needs, or even more simply if you volunteered in a charity shop, it might be helping the staff deal with day-to-day business of running the shop.

Remember: Don’t worry about it if you don’t have the contacts for specific medical work experience

If your parent is a brain surgeon, and you are allowed to look into the surgery, great! This will undoubtedly stand you in good stead. However if your parent works in a completely different sector to the medical profession and you do not have access to a specifically medical work experience, then then do not worry! As long as you try your hardest to get a placement somewhere where you are in a position of care or help within the community, this is what medical schools are looking for. They want to see that students are displaying a willingness to make a difference, on whatever scale.

A career as a doctor is challenging and requires dedication and perseverance. There will be hurdles along the way, but remember you have a very exciting career ahead of you and that is the ultimate goal to aim for. Good luck! If you want to talk to one of our consultants about your options, we will be happy to talk to you. Ring us on (0) 207 399 1990.