Parents’ Guide: Work Experience
Does your child want to study Medicine at university? Want to support them in finding medical work experience but not sure how?
This page will provide you with information on how best to support your child in their search for medical work experience – from helping them to research different types of placements to keeping a record of their time.
How can I help my child with their work experience?
Searching for medical work experience is one of the first stages on the journey to medical school – and it can be a bit daunting! While it’s important to ensure that your child contacts hospitals or GPs themselves, there are several ways you can support them while they are looking. You may also find it useful to look at our page on Medical Work Experience.
Ask family friends
This is a good way you can help your child while they’re looking for work experience. Do you know anybody who works in a hospital or surgery and may be able to put your child in touch with the work experience department? If so, contact them and see if they can help.
Encourage your child to keep looking
Looking for medical work experience can be difficult and time-consuming, so your support is incredibly important. Many hospital departments are very busy and places fill up quickly, so encourage your child not to feel disheartened if they can’t find a placement straight away. Perhaps set aside some time at the weekends or evenings when you can sit down together and create a list of local hospitals, surgeries or care homes and their phone numbers or email addresses. This will help your child keep on top of who they have already contacted – and may be a good list for them to re-use for more experience later.
Help them plan the practicalities
A good way of helping your child prepare for their work experience is helping them with the logistics of their placement. If the hospital they’ll be working at is far away, could you drive them there in the morning and pick them up? If they’ll need to take a bus or a train, could you look at the timetable with them and help them plan their route to the hospital?
Encourage them to keep a record of their experiences
Once they’ve secured a placement, it’s important that your child keeps a record of their time – they can do this using our Personal Portfolio tool. This is a good way for them to have a written record of their day-to-day experiences and will be very useful when it comes to writing their Personal Statement. Encourage them to update this during the day and reflect on their experiences in the diary when they come home. Which consultations did they see that day? What did they learn from their first week working with elderly patients?
Talk to them about their placement
This is great interview practice and will help your child become familiar with talking about their experiences. What did they learn from their contact with a patient this week? Did they get the chance to speak to a nurse about their career? In addition to encouraging them to keep a written record, encourage your child to talk to you about what they’re enjoying, aspects they’re finding difficult and what they’re learning.