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Work experience is an important part of your Medicine application. Have a look at this guide to find out what is required, what is considered ‘valuable’ work experience, and how you’ll need to reflect on it.

Why Do I Need Work Experience For Medicine?

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.

Work Experience Requirements

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:

  • Given you people-focused experience
  • Provided you with an insight into the realities of caring for others
  • Helped you to develop the skills and values needed to become a Doctor, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, the ability to interact with different people, and beyond
  • Given you a realistic understanding of the physical and emotional demands of a career in Medicine

Check our guide to find out what each Medical School’s work experience requirements are.

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Types Of Medicine Work Experience

Broadly speaking, there are four types of medical work experience:

You might also want to look into virtual work experience schemes, or explore the possibility of work experience in a healthcare-related setting such as a pharmacy.

How To Get Medical Work Experience

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.

Work Experience Tips

Make sure you reflect on your work experience to get the most out of it!

  • At the end of each day, reflect on what you observed and what you learned
  • Take notes/keep a diary during the placement so you won't forget key things
  • When the placement is over, revisit your notes & reflections and add to them
  • Review your notes before you write your Personal Statement
  • Read everything again when you're preparing for interviews
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