It is best to find a balance between the number of placements you take and the depth to which you are embedded in each one. While you need to see a range of medical practice, it is of limited benefit if you are only gaining a superficial understanding of the profession. The amount of work experience most students will have is usually limited by practicalities; your experience will be predominantly limited to your holidays from school, and placements can be difficult to arrange.
A good aim is to have completed at least the following by the time you write your medical school personal statement – both to demonstrate the necessary dedication to the caring professions (and Medicine specifically), and to give you relevant experiences to write about:
One week in a primary healthcare setting – e.g. GP work experience.
2x one-week periods in a secondary (or tertiary/quaternary) healthcare setting – i.e. hospital work experience.
A long-term (>1 year) volunteering commitment with a potentially vulnerable population:
People with disabilities
People in mental distress
A short-term volunteering placement with a different demographic.
The two main ways that Medicine applicants seek work experience are by shadowing GPs or by working in a secondary healthcare setting such as a hospital. Click below to read the ways that these placements can differ.
GP practices, hospitals and hospices are all fantastic places to carry out medical work experience. It is essential to be committed and dedicated during your placement.
The amount of work experience students will have is limited by practicalities; your experience will be predominantly limited to your holidays from school, and placement availability
Work experience in your local GP surgery is an excellent addition to any application. The medical professions are hands on and so securing relevant work experience is important.