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

What Is 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 leads you directly into a specific career path.

If you’re deciding on Medicine, you’ll need to 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 that you weigh up the good and the bad aspects of life as a Doctor. For example, many love that Medicine combines scientific challenge with human interaction. It also offers a genuine chance to make a difference to 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 have 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

What Are The Pathways To Medicine?

The key pathways to Medicine are:

  1. Undergraduate Medicine
  2. Graduate Entry Medicine after completing another degree
  3. Study Medicine abroad
  4. Transfer to Medicine while studying another degree
  5. Foundation Medicine if you meet certain criteria

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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. Be sure that becoming a Doctor is right for you
  2. Do work experience to explore Medicine and strengthen your application
  3. Choose a Medical School – you can apply to four in total
  4. Take the UCAT test
  5. Write a Personal Statement that outlines why you’re a good fit for Medicine
  6. Stand out at your Medicine interview
  7. 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 Is It Like To Study Medicine?

Before deciding on Medicine, it’s important that you understand what Medical School is going to be like. However, Medicine courses can be quite different at different universities.

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

If you want to get a taster of what being a medical student is like this summer, learn more about Medicine summer school.

Are There Other Healthcare Options?

Yes – many people look into Medicine initially, but then decide they would be more suited to a career in Dentistry or Allied Health. Remember that becoming a Doctor isn’t the be-all and end-all of working in healthcare and there are many other careers which you may find just as rewarding.

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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