Work experience, vital to medical school applications, ranges from voluntary opportunities to exposure to healthcare. Explore opportunities for 14-year-olds and discover the reasons to gain valuable experience at this age.

Why Do I Need Medical Work Experience At 14?

Engaging in medical work experience at 14 is not just about enhancing your personal statement for future medical applications; it is primarily about exploring various healthcare environments and roles to determine if medicine is a career that you want to pursue. 

Most work experience placements in healthcare settings only begin around the age of 14, although some are open to 13-year-olds, such as certain GP placements. If you are considering a career in medicine, undertaking work experience is invaluable for the following reasons: 

  • It gives you a chance to explore various healthcare professions, learning about the endless possibilities that studying medicine has to offer!
  • You can witness first-hand the day-to-day activities of healthcare professionals in various clinical settings
  • Perhaps most importantly, immersing yourself in a healthcare environment at such a young age may help you to begin developing your soft skills, including empathy, teamwork and problem-solving, all important characteristics of future doctors

Early exposure, although not necessary, may also be useful when it comes to deciding what you want to study for A-level. In particular for medicine, subject choices really matter.

As such, working out if your passion is to study medicine through immersing yourself in a healthcare environment can be crucial for academic choices at later stages in your education. 

Medical Work Experience For 14-year-olds: Options

Medical work experience opportunities are widespread and not only limited to the healthcare environment.  Some of these may include: 

  • NHS-based Work Experience 

Placement for students under the age of 16 (13-16) tends to be offered in administrative and clerical areas of healthcare environments, however, this is not to say that you won’t be able to experience aspects of the clinical environment. Valuable skills and knowledge of the day-to-day workings of specific wards or clinics can be gained simply through immersing yourself in the healthcare environment. 

Learn more about what this experience entails and how to access it here.

  • Volunteering 

Volunteering in your local area is also a great way to gain insights into what it is like to work in a professional environment, as well as to begin developing skills you will need as a doctor. These may include improving your teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Opportunities involve working with local charities, community centres, schools, or animal shelters, the possibilities are endless!

Additionally, programs such as NHS cadets are great ways to learn more about the healthcare environment, where cadets are taught basic skills, including first aid, whilst developing leadership and practical skills. 

  • Other Opportunities 

Work experience does not have to be limited to the healthcare environment. There are many different ways you can gain valuable skills and begin to understand what it is like to work in a professional environment. For example, starting a medical / science book club in your school could be a way of learning more about the medical profession before carrying out some work experience at a later stage. 

Clinical Tasks and Activities For 14-year-olds

Particularly in the clinical environment, 14-year-old students are likely to be quite limited in what they can participate in, but there are still plenty of opportunities to learn more about the workings of the healthcare sector. There is plenty to be said for learning through observation as well!

Read on to discover what typical work experience in a healthcare setting for a 14-year-old may include. 

Activities you may partake in: 

  • Analysing existing health records/hospital data, such as surveys
  • Updating communication material. This could include website pages, noticeboards or leaflets
  • Reverse mentoring: You may be asked to teach a more senior colleague how to use aspects of social media for healthcare purposes for example!
  • Analysing records of telephone conversations to determine which issues are generating complaints

Clinical tasks you may be asked to help with: 

  • Helping to make beds up in wards and general tidying of patients’ bed area
  • Distributing ward leaflets or information to new patients about certain more common conditions for example
  • Helping patients to get around the ward

Importantly, if any of the tasks you are asked to do involve direct patient contact, consent must be obtained from the patient beforehand. Don’t worry too much about this, a healthcare professional will be with you at all times and will oversee everything to make sure all goes to plan!


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Can 14-year-olds Receive Payment For Their Work?

Work experience in the NHS will not include payment for students. This is because you won’t be actively employed in a job during your work experience placement; rather, it serves as an opportunity for you to enhance your understanding of the healthcare sector and develop your skills. 

Similarly, if you decide to pursue a volunteering role, you will not be paid for your time. 

Additional Rules and Guidelines

There are some rules surrounding these work experience placements to ensure you are not being over worked! 

During term time children can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week, as well as a maximum of 2 hours on school days and Sundays and a maximum of 5 hours on Saturdays for 13 to 14-year-olds.

During school holidays 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours a week, including a maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays and a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday

FAQs: Medical Work Experience For 14-year-olds

How can I secure a placement in a healthcare setting? 

There are many ways you can go about getting medical work experience. It is advisable to get in touch with your GP practice and explain who you are and why you’d like work experience if they offer it. Additionally, make the most of any contacts you have who may be working in the healthcare sector, you would be surprised how happy everyone is to help (remember, they were in your shoes once too!) 

Is work experience essential for a medical application? 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been much harder to secure work experience in a healthcare setting. As such, work experience is not essential for a medical application but it definitely does help to show that you have been proactive in learning more about the healthcare environment. At this stage (as a 14-year-old), it is definitely not essential to have any work experience yet! You can see what individual schools require in terms of work experience here

What should I wear to work experience in a hospital? 

If you are lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to carry out work experience in a hospital make sure you are dressed appropriately. Think of how doctors are dressed to greet you when you’ve been in hospital or to visit your GP. Dress smartly to give off the best impression possible. 



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