So, you’re thinking of becoming a doctor?
You’ve come to the right place! The Medic Portal has created a free step-by-step guide to help you finalise deciding on medicine and equip you with everything you need to get into medical school.
Studying medicine usually involves 5 years of study at university, followed by more training years at the start of your career. So it’s important to make sure that medicine is right for you.
This page provides the headline information for those of you deciding on medicine, before offering a step-by-step guide on what you need to do. Don’t forget to use all the subpages to make the most of the section.
You can download our informational poster for 2020 entry medicine applicants here.
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.
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.
The best way to start getting an insight into whether medicine is right for you is to read our case studies, get some medical work experience and follow our blogs from medical applicants and students.
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:
You can read more about what makes a good doctor in the General Medical Council’s report: Tomorrow’s Doctors.
You can read more on developing the skills above with our new blog series, Key Skills for Medicine for 2019 Entry:
Deciding on medicine is a significant decision – so it’s crucial you do your research! We spoke to Charlene, former careers advisor at Health Education England, about how to make the best decision for you.
1. Produce a list of all available options
If you’re on this page, it’s very likely you’re considering a career in healthcare – whether that’s becoming a doctor, dentist or nurse – or allied health role, such as a physiotherapist or paramedic.
If you like science, might you be interested in a career involving research, diagnostics or developing and recommending treatment options?
If you’re interested in working in supporting people in communities could a career in charity work or local government be for you? The more ideas you can come up with, the better.
Often just seeing these on paper can draw you more towards or rule out certain areas. This can also tell you something about which are the most important ones you want to research in more detail.
2. Draw a timeline
Jot down how you’ve approached previous decisions in relation to study or even getting involved in a hobby or group. How have you approached these? What influenced you? What contributed to them being good (or less good) decisions? Would you do anything different with hindsight? This can give you important insights about how to approach decisions ahead of you.
3. Think about yourself
4. Research your options
5. Document your progress
If you’re like most people, it’s common to have loads of information and thoughts swimming about in your head, especially when facing an important decision. So putting things down on paper can be a good first step.
6. Make a clear action plan
While it may be easy to put things off, challenge yourself to come up with some specific actions that will help you progress your thoughts.
Taking a structured approach and knowing that you did everything you possibly could can be really worth the time invested into making a well informed decision – good luck!
Applying to study medicine in the UK is a long and challenging process. But The Medic Portal is here to help you through each and every step after deciding on medicine. In summary, these are:
You can read more about the different steps to studying medicine in detail on Study Medicine: A Step-by-Step Guide.
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.
If you are one of the many candidates who have studied a different degree or are looking to swap to medicine from another career, you can explore our dedicated Graduate Entry Medicine section.
Studying medicine abroad is an increasingly popular option. There are some great options, it is cheaper and it can provide an opportunity for those who don’t get an offer in the UK. Read more about international options here.
If you’re deciding on medicine and working in healthcare really appeals to you but you’re not sure about becoming a doctor, you might be well-suited to dentistry and allied health professions. Read more about those here.
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.
You can find out more about training pathways, medical specialties and foundation programmes on our sister site, The Medic Portal Professional!Visit The Medic Portal Professional
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