Considering becoming a Doctor? Here’s what you need to be thinking about…

What’s Being a Doctor Like?

Being a Doctor is a uniquely rewarding career. It is also extremely challenging. Unlike other courses you might apply to, medicine ties you directly into a specific career path. In the UK, it also binds you to a particular employer: the National Health Service (NHS).

If you’re deciding on Medicine, it’s very important that you understand the realities of being a Doctor as well as you can before committing to the pathway. This includes being clued-up on the NHS and current NHS hot topics.

It’s important you weigh up the good and the bad aspects of life as a Doctor. For example, many love that Medicine binds scientific challenge with human interaction. It also offers a genuine chance to make a difference to peoples’ lives. On the other hand, being a Doctor is highly stressful. There are times when you won’t be able to help and will be breaking bad news — often after long hours and working nights.


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What Makes A Good Doctor?

There are certain key qualities that make a good medical student and, ultimately, a good doctor.

If you’re deciding on medicine, it helps if you possess the following traits:

  • Academic excellence
  • Strong scientific ability
  • Commitment and tenacity
  • Organisational skills
  • People skills, like empathy
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Leadership potential
  • Stress management
  • Desire to learn and teach

You can read more about what makes a good doctor in the General Medical Council’s report: Tomorrow’s Doctors.

What Are The Pathways To Medicine?

The key pathways to Medicine are:

  1. Apply for undergraduate Medicine
  2. Transfer to Medicine
  3. Graduate from a relevant degree and apply for Graduate Entry Medicine
  4. Study Medicine abroad
  5. Apply for a Foundation Medicine programme

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What Is The Medical School Application Process?

Applying to study Medicine is a long and challenging process. You need to:

  1. Make sure being a Doctor is right for you
  2. Undertake Work Experience to find out what it’s like and strengthen your application
  3. Choose a Medical School and narrow down your options from 33 to your top four
  4. Write a Personal Statement that outlines why you’re deciding on Medicine and how you’re a good fit
  5. Take the UCAT test if you’re applying to UCAT unis
  6. Take BMAT if you’re also applying to BMAT unis
  7. Stand out at your Medicine interview
  8. Prepare to start Med School and survive your first year

Learn more about this in our guide on how to get into Medical School.

What’s It Like To Study Medicine?

Before deciding on medicine, it is important that you understand what medical school is going to be like. However, medicine courses in the UK can be quite different.

In order to learn more about what to expect, you should read-up on the different course structures: traditional courses, integrated courses and problem-based learning.

Are There Other Healthcare Options?

Yes – many people look into Medicine but instead decide they would be more suited to Dentistry or Allied Health.

What Comes After Med School?

After you finish Medical School, it’s time to begin your career as a Junior Doctor. Foundation training is the first step along the postgraduate training pathway, and will last for two years.

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