Work experience looks good in your application for Medicine because it demonstrates that you have explored what a medical career is really like. Every Medical School wants applicants who have a keen interest in Medicine and have done their research into the realities of being a Doctor.
You will be able to discuss learnings from your work experience in your Personal Statement and at Medical School interviews. No matter what type of work experience you have, it’s important that you can reflect on it and explain what it taught you about a career in Medicine.
Depending on your age group, your work experience can vary. However, you can obtain relevant medical experience if you’re 14, 15 or 16 years old.
When you’re applying to Medical Schools, they generally expect you to have some form of work experience that is relevant to Medicine. However, some have more specific requirements than others. For example, many consider volunteering to be just as valuable as work experience in a clinical setting – and some regard practical experience in a caring/public-facing role over time as more valuable than shadowing a healthcare professional for a short-term placement.
Medical Schools typically see quality as more important than quantity when it comes to work experience. You don’t need to apply with a big list of impressive placements you’ve completed; you just need evidence that you learned important lessons and developed key skills from whatever experience you have.
Admissions Tutors see value in work experience which has:
Broadly speaking, there are four types of medical work experience:
If you are struggling to get in-person work experience, you might also want to look into virtual work experience schemes. You could also explore the possibility of work experience in a healthcare-related setting such as a pharmacy.
The best way to get medical work experience is to ask – and to be persistent. If you want to get a hospital placement, you’ll probably need to apply with a few NHS Trusts and cast the net wide. If you want to do work experience in a GP practice, it’s likely you’ll need to ask a lot of practices and follow up with them.
It takes a lot of organisation and patience to arrange work experience, so try to start as early as you can. Remember that in the summer before you submit your UCAS application for Medical School, you will need to sit the UCAT and start writing your Personal Statement – so try not to leave all of your work experience until then because you will already be busy with other things to do.
If you’re struggling to arrange work experience, make sure you look into volunteering and virtual work experience opportunities such as our Volunteering & Reflection Programme. Our partner InvestIN also runs a medicine summer school course where you get to experience medical work in a real hospital setting.
Make sure you reflect on your work experience to get the most out of it!
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